Golf fans in the Territory would do well to spend some time looking beyond just the established professionals to some of the nation’s emerging talent also set to appear at the MMC Northern Territory PGA Championship at Palmerston from August 16–19.
Last year’s champion when still an amateur, Travis Smyth, is the ultimate case in point but another to watch out for this year will be outstanding amateur prospect Jed Morgan, who will return to the Top End with a growing reputation and a trophy cabinet bursting at the seams since his last visit to the Territory last year.
The 18-year old Queenslander was excited to receive an invitation to play in his first MMC Northern Territory PGA Championship which provides him, and a handful of other local and interstate amateurs, with another invaluable opportunity to pit his fast-developing skills against the professionals in an ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia event.
Jed Morgan with his trophy for winning the 2017 NSW Junior Championship.
Photo: Jack Newton Junior Golf.
“I played the Queensland and NSW Open last year so I’m really grateful for the opportunity to play another event alongside the pros up in Palmerston,” Morgan said from Chicago, where he is finishing up a two-month trip playing some of America’s most prestigious amateur events.
“I got to play with Jordan Zunic and Oliver Goss up at the Queensland Open and that was so much fun and a great experience.”
The affable Morgan won the Northern Territory Junior and Amateur titles in Alice Springs in 2017, then showed a clean pair of heels to the field by winning the Singapore Junior title soon after. Morgan had previously enjoyed success in Asia with victory in the individual title while representing Australia at the 2016 Asia Pacific Junior Championship in Taiwan.
In his NT Amateur win, Morgan had to recover himself mentally after the setback of a quadruple bogey on just the second hole of the championship. Settle he did and he went on to demonstrate what an exciting player he is at such a young age by recording 25 birdies over four rounds at Alice Springs, eventually claiming a narrow one-stroke victory over Western Australia’s Jordan Doull.
Morgan then went on a dominant run to win a swag of events across the country, including the Queensland and NSW Junior Amateur titles, and has been a regular in Queensland representative teams for the past two years.
“I played really well in 2016 and I didn’t really think I could top that year to be honest, however 2017 was better again. This year has been a bit slower by comparison but I can feeling it coming.”
Just a few months ago, Morgan was one of only two players who went through undefeated (six wins and a halved match) in the Australian Men’s Interstate Series in Adelaide before heading to the U.S. to play in the world’s biggest junior event - the U.S. Junior Amateur at the famed Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey – where he qualified in the top 64 players in the stroke play section before falling in the first round of the matchplay series.
It has been performances like these that saw Morgan recently awarded the 2018 Cameron Smith Scholarship, which is part of fellow Queenslander Smith’s commitment to the Golf Australia "Give Back" culture.
“Everyone looks up to Cam and is full of admiration for what he's doing," Morgan said on winning the scholarship.
"It's fantastic that his hard work is being rewarded in the United States and it's awesome that he keeps an eye on us at home and wants us to follow in his and Jason (Day)’s footsteps.”
“The scholarship and the support of my parents has helped me to travel and play here in the U.S. over the past couple of months. I’ve met a lot of fantastic people and been to a lot of great places, Texas, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and now here in Chicago for the Western Amateur.”
“This is my last event here before coming home for a quick break before heading up to Palmerston for the PGA. It’s been a great experience but I can’t wait to get home, that’s for sure.”