Newcastle’s Jye Pickin is ready for his first major tournament on home soil in almost 12 months when the NSW Amateur gets underway at Kooindah Waters and Magenta Shores on Monday.
Pickin returned home late last year after a brief stint in college in the United States. The high flying former NSW Junior Champion and Avondale Golf Club representative described the decision to come home as fraught, but ultimately the right one personally.
“I arrived back in late November, had two weeks in quarantine which was tough but got through it, and finally got out on December 11.
“It was a tough decision, 100%. But in terms of my golf over the next few years, development-wise, I feel it’s best here.
“It (college) was a real eye-opener for me. It made me aware of how good it is back here with the High-Performance squad and the coaching we have available.
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“As a development pathway going forward, and as I look to turn pro in the next few years, coming home was the right one for me.”
Well-ensconced back in Newcastle, Pickin took a little time off over the festive season to reconnect with friends and family before resuming the grind just after the New Year.
“It’s been good to be back up here (in Newcastle) most of my time, spending time with friends and family over Christmas, but in the last couple of weeks, I’ve really got back into the swing of things.”
“I’ve been shooting some good scores, practising a bit but playing a bit more.
“I’ve been hanging around with Jake Higginbottom and Blake (Windred) at Charlestown. It’s good to have a Saturday afternoon hit with them,”
The 20-year-old admitted actually teeing it up in a real tournament for the first time in almost a year would feel a little surreal, but one he can’t wait for.
“It’s going to be awesome though, being back out actually playing.
“I was talking to a few of the boys last week, and we all agreed it will feel kind of weird, but everyone’s excited and raring to go. There’s so much energy.”
Determined, Pickin said despite a lack of interstate competitors next week, the opposition would still be tough, and the task of winning a NSW Amateur is always tough.
“Even with no interstate or international golfers playing, you still have to play well.
“Being local, you know most of the guys know what it takes to win, but it’s all about putting it together and getting it done.”