Four lucky West Australian golfers experienced the opportunity of a lifetime last Saturday as they played The Australian Golf Club under Australian Open championship conditions.

Ian Armer Jr, from Finley Golf Club in New South Wales (17 points) and Chelsea Murkins, from Windaroo Lakes Golf Club in Queensland (24 points) were the two winners.

Armer and Murkins will now jet off to Royal St George’s in England to play the nine-hole challenge hosted by the R&A during The Open Championship in 2020.

Whilst our four West Aussie contenders didn’t quite make it through to the final in England, they did get to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity that they won’t soon forget.

Narelle Anderson is a Kwinana GC member and a recent convert to the game of golf. Narelle won her spot into the national final by taking out the Play 9 title at the recent WA Open. It comes as no surprise that this experience at the Australian Open now ranks as the highlight of her fledgling golf career.

Speaking after the event, Narelle said, “It’s almost too difficult to put into words the experience that I had the honour of winning. Playing at this event [Australian Open] was truly something I won’t forget in a hurry and to be honest, I am now worried nothing will compare, I mean where too from here?” 

“The highlight for me was easily the 18th hole. I decided early on that I was going to stick to my normal game, which is based on my cowboy philosophy of just having a crack. I didn’t want to come home regretting not having a good shot at each hole.”  

When asked about the broader appeal of the Play 9 initiative, Narelle had only positive comments about this shortened format of golf.

“Don’t get me wrong I would have given my husband’s left arm to play 18-holes on this course, but 9-hole rounds are what originally got me into golf. I still play 9 holes at least once a week so I am truly a big fan of the format and it is such a fantastic way to get busy men and women into golf.”

Royal Perth member, Murray Durham, also won his way to Sydney on the back of his victory at the WA Open Play 9 final.

Murray, an avid golfer, may have been disappointed with his score but he still relished the opportunity to test his game on a championship layout.

“I didn’t play as well as I had hoped but I enjoyed every hole. My highlight was the 12th where I holed a greenside bunker shot for birdie,” Murray said.

For Lakelands member Ian Higley the Play 9 final was a surreal and humbling experience. After all, it’s not every day you get to tee it up during the Australian Open.

Ian is a huge advocate of the Play 9 initiative and believes that shorter rounds can have a positive impact on the number of people taking up the game of golf.

“I adore the play 9 initiative and my wife and I feel this initiative has sparked something within each of us to challenge ourselves more and to encourage more 9-hole participation,” Ian stated.

“We will both attempt to qualify for next years Play 9 final, now wouldn’t that be something special!”

Results