Brett Rumford is confident of his chances at the European Tour's newest event, the $2 million ISPS Handa Perth International, but believes anyone in the field can win.
After a sluggish start to the year and a mid-season flat spot, the Perth golfer has come home strongly over the past 2Ã‚Â½ months, highlighted by his runner-up finish at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, Scotland.
Rumford and wife Sally became parents to premature twins Violet and Lulu last year and he admits it has taken some time to settle into parenthood, but being back home will provide the support network they do without in Europe.
"I think Lake Karrinyup is well set up for me and I am not discounting my chances of winning because my game is in a good place," Rumford said.
"It is just a matter of putting yourself into contention because, when you look at the depth of competition in tournaments these days, the cut mark relative to the tournament leaders has got a lot closer."
There had been tournaments where players had packed their bags after missing the cut when just six or seven shots off the lead, the 35-year-old said.
"You can have 65 guys that are right there and capable of coming through the field and winning tournaments because the gap is not very great anymore," Rumford said.
It would have been rare in the past for players to scrape into the top 65 and then win, but that changed because of the depth of the competition.
And there are many more first-time winners on both the US and European PGA tours.
The young players "come off the Challenge or Nationwide (Web.com) tours and already have a lot of experience and are as good as the players on the main tour", Rumford said.
"They all hit the ball a mile and that is why they have such great ability to shoot low numbers on very tough golf courses."
Rumford is proud of being a West Australian and wants to show off the State to the rest of the world, wearing the Perth International brand on a sleeve recently.
And he has been trying to persuade his European Tour buddies to make the trip, even though he understands the constraints of a tough travel schedule.
"I wanted them to see one of Australia's great golf courses because the European Tour will not play a course that is this well manicured or where the greens run this pure," Rumford said.
His main goal this week will be to make sure he remains among the tour's top-60 players, which will guarantee him a start in the end-of-season World Tour Championship in Dubai and a share of $8 million in prize money.
"It is a little out of my control because of the guys behind me but I have one last tournament here where I can pull it off," said Rumford, who is currently in 54th place.
"If I win that changes things enormously for next year, but a top 15 should secure a place in the Race to Dubai."Lake Karrinyup is well set up for me and I am not discounting my chances of winning because my game is in a good place." *Brett Rumford *
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