Hunter Valley product Dylan Perry will use the impending arrival of his first child and a history of success at Coffs Harbour Golf Club as motivation for a breakthrough win at this week’s $50,000 Geoff King Motors North Coast Open.
Part of the Golf NSW Regional Open Series leading up to the $400,000 NSW Open at Concord Golf Club next month, the North Coast Open has attracted a field laden with talent, Adidas PGA Pro-Am Series winners Deyen Lawson, Daniel Gale, Brett Rankin, Sam Brazel and Brady Watt among the leading contenders.
Playing alongside Brazel and amateur Conor Whitelock in Tuesday’s opening round, Perry is another fancied chance and has the memories of a Coffs Harbour victory to call upon.
The 2012 JNJG (Jack Newton Junior Golf) Subaru State Age Championship field included now established professionals Cam Davis, Blake Windred, Travis Smyth and Harrison Endycott, yet it was Perry who returned to Newcastle with the oversized trophy and a sense of belief that professional golf was a career option worth pursuing.
“I was 15 or 16 at the time. I was going around today trying to remember it all but there were only two holes that clicked into my mind,” Perry said after Monday’s pro-am.
“That was ten years ago now, but it unlocks that next chapter, and you think, Let’s see how far we can actually go with this.
“I went home with a massive trophy and at the time it was the biggest thing that I’d won at the age I was at so it was a pretty cool thing.”
Since turning professional in 2018, that first win has proved elusive, a tie for third at the 2018 NSW Open an indicator that a win would come sooner rather than later.
He topped Australasian PGA Tour School qualifying at the end of 2018 to secure his immediate playing future, but Perry doesn’t consider that a tournament victory on his resume.
He has seen first-hand the confidence that two-time ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia Anthony Quayle has taken from his tournament wins and is eyeing off more Coffs Harbour silverware to kick-start his 2022 season in Japan.
“I don’t want to be going back to Japan flat-footed,” explained Perry, who finished 66th on the elongated Japan Golf Tour money list in 2021.
“I look at this week as one where if I play well, I can definitely win.
“I play with ‘Quayley’ day-in and day-out, and I’d like to think we’re of equal ability. It’s just the momentum and confidence you get from winning a tournament.
“Winning is hard, especially at the pro level, and when Quayley won, he said it was that extra confidence, you get from showing that you can do it.
“I look at guys like Quayley and Jed (Morgan) and I know I can do this, it’s just getting it all to come together at the right time.”
Tied for 22nd at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, Perry skipped the past two events as his partner Brittany got closer and closer to the due date for their first child.
Given it is only a three-hour drive back home, Perry felt comfortable making the trip to Coffs Harbour and is excited by what fatherhood will soon bring.
“Obviously, it’s going to be different, and my perspective on life will change, which will probably be a good thing.
“At the end of the day it’s not all about golf, it’s family so I think it will be really good.”