For one it will be a first time taste of big tournament golf. For another, it’ s second time lucky, and for the third, it’s going to be a reunion with a mentor who helped a career climb to great heights.
The weather gods finally delivered on their threat here at Coolangatta Tweed, and with scores reverting to those at the end of 18 holes, the three winners of the all-important exemptions into the 2022 Golf Challenge NSW Open were Will Florimo, Jay Mackenzie and Sam Brazel.
Florimo’s victory in the Tweed capped off a pretty special couple of days, and the certainty of a spot at Concord is something he was thrilled to know he had locked away.
“Honestly I can’t wait,” Florimo beamed. “It’s going to be great to play one last event at this level as an amateur, and hopefully I will finish my career off with a good stretch of golf.”
For Brazel a winner on the European Tour, securing his spot comes with a touch of nostalgia. His former mentor as a PGA trainee, Dave Northey, is now the Director of Golf at Concord.
“Of course, I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t played Concord for a long time. I’ve got a good friend in Dave Northey who is there, and it will be nice to get back and see some familiar faces.”
Jay Mackenzie, who hails from just down the coast at Ballina, is fast becoming a dab hand at the Regional Open Series pathway. Mackenzie earned his first Regional Open invite in the 2020 North Coast Open at Coffs Harbour, and after grabbing a second invite is quietly confident his return to concord will be a better show second time around.
“I got lucky, I know, with the weather call, because I wasn’t playing that well today, but it’s nice to get in.”
“I played horrible there last time. Hopefully I’ll get there this time, hit more fairways, hit more greens and make some more putts,” Mackenzie added.