Two Blues Stars have joined the Golf Australia Rookie Squad for 2024.
Sydney’s Jeffrey Guan and Harrison Crowe join Perth’s Haydn Barron as the new additions to the squad of 12, who will receive financial support and guidance from the national organisation during the early phases of their professional careers.
Twenty-two year old Crowe, the 2022 NSW Open and Asia-Pacific Amateur champion and 19-year old Guan, a two-time Australian Junior champion, recently turned professional, with Crowe earning playing rights on the 2024 Asian Tour just last month in Thailand.
Barron is the mature-aged member of the squad at 27 and began his career as a DP World Tour player this month including a top-10 finish in Qatar last weekend.
The Rookie Squad includes some of the best young players competing domestically and represting on some of the world’s biggest golf tours – the likes of Grace Kim, Stephanie Kyriacou, Gabriela Ruffels, Cassie Porter in the United States and Barron and Kirsten Rudgeley in Europe.
Guan was excited at the opportunity.
“Golf Australia has helped me all through my career and this is another step,” he said.
“To get that funding is great for me at this stage first of all. On top of that to be able to access the support in terms of nutritionists, physios, conditioning and that kind of thing is awesome.
“Plus I can plan ahead for the year and set a schedule with some certainty. So I’m extremely grateful.”
Golf Australia’s High Performance Director Tony Meyer said the Rookie Squad was not just about providing financial assistance but about guiding young professionals to help them get the best out of themselves.
“We’re delighted to have three new members of the squad who’ve all earned their place,” said Meyer.
“Jeff Guan and Harrison Crowe are really exciting young players and their records show that.
“Haydn Barron is a little older than the players we typically bring in as a first-year player, but we have to factor in that a couple of years of his development were lost to the pandemic travel restrictions, and he’s made good progress including earning his DP World Tour playing rights.
“We’ll be supporting these players in some of the most important years – the formative years – of their careers.
“The GA Rookie Squad is one of our most important initiatives, because it’s a fact that some of the most difficult years for professional golfers occur early on, when the cost of travel and setting up a team can be bigger than your earnings.
“The Rookie Squad is about making sure they get through that period and making sure that they don’t feel alone out there in the world.
“We’re extremely proud of the program and grateful for the support of the Kinghorn Foundation in this initiative.”
Of the 2023 squad members, Blake Windred, Jed Morgan and Louis Dobbelaar are no longer part of a group which carries a maximum of five years’ membership.
2024 Golf Australia Rookie Squad
Cassie Porter (Qld) Australia, Epson Tour
Gabi Ruffels (Vic)
LPGA Grace Kim (NSW) LPGA
Kirsten Rudgeley (WA) European Tour
Jeff Guan (NSW) Asia and Australia
Steph Kyriacou (NSW) LPGA
Connor McKinney (WA) Australia, Challenge Tour
Elvis Smylie (Qld) Australia, Challenge Tour
Harrison Crowe (NSW) Asia and Australia
Hayden Hopewell (WA) Australia, Challenge Tour
Haydn Barron (WA) Australia, European
Jack Thompson (SA) Australia, Asia