Major Champions Invitational gig for Novocastrian 2018 Avondale Amateur winner Blake Windred

Freshly crowned Avondale Amateur champion Blake Windred could barely believe his ears when told ’s first US Masters winner Adam Scott would soon be a teammate.
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PRIZE: Blake Windred receives the Avondale Amateur trophy from former n PM John Howard. Picture: Anthony Powter

Nor that fellow major title holders Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy,John Daly, Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els and host Nick Faldo would be opponents.

It’s part of therecently launchedMajor Champions Invitationaland come March the Cardiff South 20-year-old Windred will be over in the US state of Florida rubbing shoulders with some of the best in the golfing business.

“That was the best news ever,” Windred said.

“It was after the first round [at Avondale] and I just finished bogey-bogey so I was pretty angry. Then our national coach rang me and said I’d been picked to play in Adam Scott’s team at this new tournament.

“I said ‘thanks mate, youjust made my day’. Thatwas awesome.”

It’s all part of an “unbelievable” period for the Charlestown-club amateur.

Windred sharedhonours for best amateur at the NSW Open in November.

He followed it up with tied fourth for stroke play at the n Amateur in Perth less than a fortnight ago.

The former Cardiff High School student was then invited to participate at the New Zealand PGA next month.

Andcapped off by the unexpected chance to play under captain Scott at Montverde’s Bella Collina for three days from March 12 while securing his breakthroughvictory at the Avondale Amateur in Sydney on Friday.

“Having good results like that can get you into tournaments because Golf NSW and Golf see it,” he said.

Windred was six under and prevailedby one with par on the 72ndand final holedespite seven others at least sharing the lead throughout the back nine.

He found abunkernext to the green with his penultimate shot but kept his cool in front of family and friendsto avoid a play-off with EnglishmanDavid Hague (-5).

“You play for moments like that,” he said.“It was a special feeling to make that putt.”

Extended trips to the US and UK, including a potential crack at theBritish Amateur, are firmly on the agenda for 2018 before returning home to play the NSW and n opens.

In the meantime Windred continues his NSW Amateur campaign in Canberra on Tuesday after shooting a first-round two under on Monday.

He is tied 12thbut just four off the pace with 18 holes of stroke play remaining. The top 32 progress to match play from Wednesday.

*WARATAHhave a father-son combination in their Newcastle district A-grade pennant ranks this season as they prepare to defend the 2017 crown.

Dad Damian and teenage child Jesseare now part of the squad, which has won eight of the previous10 titles including last year’s final against Toronto.

The Fittler familyrecently relocated to the Hunter region after Damian finished up as the long-term pro at Queensland’sBribie Island.

Successful skipper Greg McMillan said he was “looking forward to having both of them on board” for the campaign, which starts at Tanilba Bay on Saturday with Waratah playing 2016 champions Charlestown.

McMillan said promising junior Caleb Bromleyand the return ofJustin Ely from Toronto also add “depth” to the group.Ben Hillard, who was undefeated last season, comes back alongsideWaratah club champion Josh Greenwood, Michael Coutman and Grant Cooper.

In other opening-round fixtures on the weekend Toronto have Newcastle whilepromoted Pacific Dunes meet Merewether.

*HALF-A-DOZENHunter golfers will line-up fortheVictorian Open at 13thBeach Golf Links inBarwon Heads from Thursday.

James Nitties, Aaron Townsend,Callan O’Reilly,Dylan Perry, Nathan Green and Nick Flanaganwill be in action at the PGA tournament.The title was claimed by Muswellbrook product Kurt Barnes in 2005.

* NEWCASTLE-BASEDEuropean-Tour playerAndrew Dodttied 29that the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday after finishing 13 underat Emirates Golf Club.

Dodt, who turned 32 on Day,was one ahead of 2017 US Masters champion Sergio Garcia (-12)but 10 off leaderLi Haotong (-23).

He missed the cut at the season-opening Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship earlier this month and now joins Charlestown’s Jake Higginbottom in Malaysia for the$3million Maybank Championshipfrom Thursday.

Asian-Tour member Higginbottom was one over and one short of Friday’scut at the Mynamar Open.

*NEWCASTLEHunter District Ladies Golf Associationpennantsteeoff at Maitland on March 12 with seven clubs participating in division one for 2018.

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