Rookie Haydn Barron is hoping that familiar surroundings will boost his chances of claiming a maiden professional ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australia title in the Nexus Advisernet WA Open, played at his home track of The Western Australian Golf Club next week.
Having turned professional in January, the former GolfWA Inter-State captain – who has tasted pro success as an amateur by winning the 2021 Spalding Park Open – launched his career in the paid ranks with a tie for 12th in the Australian PGA Championship. Despite a mixed run of results from limited starts, has secured his full playing card for 2022.
He’s looking to kickstart the new, full season with a fresh outlook and a good performance in his home state open.
“When you play pro events as an amateur, you get put into a drawcard group and you are just trying to soak up the experience. The pressure is off because you are playing alongside some big-name players and you really have nothing to lose.
“I remember vividly how my mind-set shifted when I started playing as a professional. I fell into the trap of trying to just make the cut so that I could make enough money to get to next event. When I did make the cut, I’d be chasing a score all weekend and I’d maybe finish in the middle of the pack.”
The off season has given the 26-year-old some time to reflect and it would come as no surprise to see Barron’s name near the top of the leaderboard this season.
“I realised that I needed to get my mind-set back to where I was playing to win and contend,” he said. “It’s about the confidence of knowing I can compete at this level.”
The Nexus Advisernet WA Open presents a perfect opportunity for Barron to showcase his new outlook and he will draw confidence from the last time the event was held at The Western Australian Golf Club, in 2016, where he led after the first round.
“Any time you get to play an event around your home course is a massive bonus,” he said. “The course is looking unbelievable at the moment and the greens are firming up – and we know they will get very quick for the tournament.”
Barron has a strategy worked out for the event and can expect a large number of local fans and club members to be cheering him on.
“I’m confident in my gameplan at WAGC, so I’ve just got to rock up and play the good golf I know I am capable of.
“One of the keys to doing well next week will be your positioning off the tee. You’ve got to know where you want to be on every hole and where you can miss. That will make the approach shots a little easier, which is important around here as any time you miss the green you risk getting into some big trouble.”
The course has also had a few subtle changes since the last time it was played here, so Barron may have the inside track when it comes to the holes that were tweaked.
“It will be good to see how the changes hold up against some of the country’s top professionals and amateurs. The course will provide a good test for the players, especially if the wind gets up, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and making the most of it.”