Gore's Vaughan McCall has played a lot of golf this year, but the 21-year-old is preparing for what could be his toughest competition yet.
McCall left New Zealand on Friday bound for Japan where he will play the Panasonic Japan Open. After that he will head straight to Turkey to represent New Zealand in the prestigious Eisenhower Trophy in early October. He then heads to Bangkok in November after accepting an invitation to play the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
It's a hectic schedule, but one McCall is looking forward to.
He is one of just a handful of amateurs worldwide to join the otherwise professional field in the Panasonic Japan Open and, though he admits the tournament is a bit of the unknown, he expects it to be another step up in terms of the standard and quality of play.
Hard work and some good practice of late means he heads to Japan in good form - and he's confident that will continue.
“I'm pretty happy with where my game is at," he said.
"I'm hitting the ball pretty well and just need to bring it all together,” he said.
“After coming home from the UK I've been able to play a lot of local courses, like Mataura, Tapanui and my home course Gore and it's been really good to get out and about.”
McCall is also eager to put in a good performance at the Eisenhower Trophy - just making the team has been a long-term goal and the opportunity to play is something he's excited about.
“I get to represent my country, Southland and Gore all in one and it's just awesome,” he said.
“The thing I'm looking forward to the most is walking to that first tee with the New Zealand uniform on and a smile on my face!”
The Asian Amateur also promises a good challenge.
McCall finished in the top 10 last year and is hopeful of bettering that when he heads to Bangkok in early November.
The Gore Golf Club member's passport is already well stamped this year, after a six-week stint in Britain - which included a runner-up finish in the Welsh Amateur - and trips to Australia as well.
It's that international experience that McCall believes will put him in good stead for his upcoming challenges.
“That experience in the UK helped me so much - I couldn't believe how much I got out of the trip, both on and off the course,” he said.
“Just from organising everything, meeting new people, travelling from tournament to tournament on my own . . . I just learned so much.”
No matter how far his golf takes him, with McCall one thing is certain - he's always happy at home.
“That's something I think is awesome ... that I can still come back and play locally for my club and represent Gore.
"Representing New Zealand is an absolute honour, but it's great that I can come home and play for Gore too - I love it.”
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