Mentors behind Morgan’s Aust PGA blitz

Murray Wenzel |

Regular chats with Ricky Ponting and a fishing trip with world No.10 Cameron Smith have steeled Jed Morgan as the youngster eyes the Australian PGA Championship title.

On his home Royal Queensland GC track, Morgan shot an eight-under 63 – a course record for the revamped layout – to reach 14-under on Friday.

The 22-year-old professional leads by a staggering six shots from Andrew Dodt (66) with overnight pacesetter Louis Dobbelaar (71) a shot further back alongside Aaron Pike (70).

With no overseas-based stars in the field, the stage is set for a new face to announce themselves, US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy cheekily suggesting that Morgan could be the “next Greg Norman.”

The beneficiary of a Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship, Morgan has struck a bond with assigned mentors Ponting and former Major League Baseball pitcher Graeme Lloyd.

“The pair of them have just opened up their insight on dealing with this sort of stuff,” said Morgan, who saluted to the swelling crowd as he nailed his eighth birdie to complete a memorable round.

“I don’t take too many words or phrases from people, just how they act and they’re both aggressive people and especially when they’re competing that’s how you’ve got to be.”

After an initial trip in 2018, he enjoyed a return visit on fellow Brisbane product Smith’s boat last month in Florida.

Morgan appreciatedSmith’s work-life balance as he attempted to catch sailfish and grouper with the man who earned a record-breaking win on the PGA Tour last week. 

“He’s got an awesome look on things and as I’ve got to know him a bit more he’s really good with advice, pretty smart in terms of how he works, doesn’t exert energy where it’s not important,” Morgan said.

The tournament, back at RQ for the first time since 2001, wasn’t contested in 2020 and was then delayed until early this year due to COVID-19.

That delay meant all of the country’s US-based stars were unable to attend, leaving fresh faces to fight for the $180,000 first prize.

US Open champion Ogilvy finished three-over and will miss the cut, reserving his praise for the new course record holder.

“I don’t know how many people picked him, but everybody probably should have,” he said.

“He’s got the golf world at his feet, if it all works out, and he plays well and he takes his opportunities.

“My parents have been dining out forever that they saw Greg Norman win the West Lakes Classic in 1976.

“Nobody knew who he was and he turned up and he won, and the rest is history.

“That goes here. Jed might be Greg Norman.”