MUSWELLBROOK young gun Josh Fuller hopes to use the NSW Country championships as a springboard for a productive summer in preparation for a shot at major amateur events in the US.
Fuller, 20, is in his first year as part of the Golf NSW High Performance squad, but COVID-19 restrictions have forced the majority of sessions to be done remotely.
His time on the practice fairways has also been limited.
"I had just got into the routine of travelling to Sydney each week before lockdown," Fuller said. "We have had lot of zoom calls to keep in touch with everyone. A lot of remote learning.
"I wasn't able to practice as much and I did take a bit of time off to get the body right.
"The gym work has been pretty intense since we haven't had an opportunity to play tournaments. My physical condition has definitely improved. I had a specific gym program aimed towards golf."
Fuller has been back in practice mode for the past couple of weeks.
The first tournament back is the NSW Country Championships in Forbes on November 6-7.
"My game is getting there," Fuller said. "It will take a bit more time to get back to the level I was at before lockdown. It is all a work in progress. I'm really looking forward to going to Forbes. I played pretty well at the Country Championships in Bathurst last year but got disqualified for a card error. It was a miscommunication between two players. Those things happen sometimes."
Fuller heads a strong Hunter River District team, which includes Corey Lamb, Clayton Small and Hayden Gulliver.
As well as the individual competition, the five best scores from each district combine for a team aggregate.
"We have decent team," Fuller said. "There is always a bit of rivalry there with Newcastle."
After the Country Championships, Fuller plans to play in the $50,000 NSW Open regional qualifier in Dubbo (November 29-30), the Victorian Amateur (December 13-14), Master of the Amateurs (January 11-14) and NSW Amateur (January 24-28).
"Thankfully, things are starting to get back to normal," Fuller said. ''I'll play the NSW Open qualifier in Dubbo before heading to Victoria in December. I have been playing a few matches with Jye Pickin and Jordy Gardner who are also in the high performance squad. Next year the plan is to travel to the US with Jye for the bigger events over there."
** Blake Windred will need a top five-finish in the season-ending European Challenge Tour final in Mallorca (November 4-7) to be any hope of earning promotion to the main tour next year.
Windred is in 39th spot with $70,675 prizemoney on the order of merit. Englishman Andrew Wilson is in 20th place on $106, 243.
The 23-year-old slipped two places after carding rounds of 71,71,64,74 to be at four under and a tie for 37th at the Challenge Costa Brava last week.