Perry keen for pay cheque

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 06:41 10/11/2012

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Mathew Perry sounds like a man who's not going to be overwhelmed by his move to the ranks of professional golf.

Perry will make his pro debut in the BMW New Zealand Open in Christchurch later this month after finishing an impressive amateur career by representing New Zealand at the Eisenhower Trophy world amateur teams tournament in Turkey last month.

The Hamilton 25-year-old has been eyeing the pro circuit for some time and says he's ready for the added demands of playing for a living.

"There's no real difference for me playing as a pro than as an amateur - the only difference will be at the end of the week," Perry said in reference to the potential pay cheques he can now accumulate.

"I've spent the last two or three years preparing for this. I've taken a bit of a long-winded approach, so I'm more than prepared to play as a professional."

Perry played in last year's NZ Open at the Clearwater Golf Club, missing the cut with scores of 81 and 74.

"Clearwater is an interesting challenge in tough conditions," Perry said.

"The wind can be a big factor. Last year it was very unpredictable, so you have to judge that well. I was also surprised at how hard the ground was. A lot of shots would just bounce through the fairway and into the rough.

"It's still a good one for me to start as a pro in."

He won't be overawed by rubbing shoulders with the pros either after getting another taste of the big time in Japan earlier this year.

"I played the Panasonic Open prior to the Eisenhower and I felt more than comfortable in that field, which was a better one than the NZ Open."

Perry said he didn't play as well as he hoped to in Turkey in his amateur farewell in tough conditions as New Zealand finished 24th but didn't feel his game needed much of an overhaul.

"I'm tidying up a few areas but nothing startlingly obvious."

The Open will start a potential run of tournaments for Perry that give him the opportunity to earn an Australian PGA tour card before heading to Q[ualifying] School in Melbourne in early January and then on to the Asian Q-School.

"I have to pre-qualify for the Australian Open and Australian PGA but I'm hoping to get a start in the NSW PGA."

Perry feels the gap between the top amateurs and many professionals isn't vast.

"The top players in the world are a standard above but the amateur game still has some very good players," he said.

"At the West Australian Open recently, the top two finishers [Oliver Goss and Brady Watt] were amateurs.

"The difference is the depth of talent. At an amateur tournament if you shoot two under you may be 10th; in a professional tournament you'll have a lot more guys with or above you."

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Perry acknowledged that the mental aspect of the pro game will be key but he has also done a lot of work into that side of the game with clinical pyschologist David Galbraith.

"We've been working together since mid-2009. He's got a good track record and he's a great guy."

Perry will be joined at the NZ Open from November 22-25 by rising Te Awamutu amateur Compton Pikari, who secured his place by winning the South Island Stroke Play title at the Christchurch Golf Club.

- Waikato Times

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