Golfer Toby Walker continues Australian tradition at Dogwood Invitational

Toby Walker, Australia, who finished 24th, talks with his caddie during the final round of the Dogwood Invitational Golf Tournament in Atlanta on Saturday, June 11, 2022.  (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Combined ShapeCaption
Toby Walker, Australia, who finished 24th, talks with his caddie during the final round of the Dogwood Invitational Golf Tournament in Atlanta on Saturday, June 11, 2022. (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Although known for hosting some of the better amateur golfers from the United States, the Dogwood Invitational has a long history of welcoming golfers from the land down under. The 55th Invitational was no different.

With Australian greats such as 2013 Masters Champion and 1999 Dogwood Invitational runner-up Adam Scott, 2002 Dogwood champion Andrew Buckle and 2021 Dogwood Invitational champion Louis Dobbelaar setting the standard, this year’s Aussies had high expectations going in.

Representing Australia this year were Michael Hanrahan Smith, Connor Fewkes, Adam Brady, Jye Pickin and Toby Walker. Though Fewkes and Walker were the only two to make the cut, Australia still was well-represented in the competition.

To end the week-long affair, Walker carded a 71 on Saturday, giving him a 7-under-par finish. Walker tied for 24th place along with Fewkes, who went 70-73-69-69 on the week. Although not the finish he hoped for, Walker remained grateful for his appearance on the Druid Hills Golf Club course and to represent his home country.

“It’s good to represent anywhere you go, simple as that,” Walker told the AJC after the Invitational. “It’s good that we have Australian people over here in America competing. So, Australia is becoming a really big golfer community, which has been very nice.”

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Toby Walker, Australia, who finished 24th, hits from the 10th tee during the final round of the Dogwood Invitational Golf Tournament in Atlanta on Saturday, June 11, 2022. (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Toby Walker, Australia, who finished 24th, hits from the 10th tee during the final round of the Dogwood Invitational Golf Tournament in Atlanta on Saturday, June 11, 2022.   (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Combined ShapeCaption
Toby Walker, Australia, who finished 24th, hits from the 10th tee during the final round of the Dogwood Invitational Golf Tournament in Atlanta on Saturday, June 11, 2022. (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

While golf’s popularity in Australia is taking off rapidly, there is still a much smaller number of tournaments for top players, leaving many Aussies to travel across the globe grow their resume.

“The truth is, everyone that has made it from Australia is either going to college for a year or they play all of their golf in America,” Walker said. “No one that actually makes it golf, plays in Australia, simple as that. They might come back for a couple events like the Vic Open or the Aussie Open, the big ones but they are playing in Asia, Europe, PGA.”

Just last week, Walker impressed in the LLD International Amateur Championship in Singapore, tying for sixth place. Walker’s trip to Atlanta is his first stop in the United States, where he plans to compete in the coming summer months.

“I’ve got three months over here playing events, so it will be good,” Walker said. “The golf courses are amazing; the weather has been awesome. Missing our winter at home, but it’s been nice.”

Being so far away from home can be challenging. However, for decades many Atlantans having been opening their homes to welcome the international players who come here and compete.

Walker stayed with a host family who are members of the Druid Hills Golf Club throughout this week, allowing him to get to know people from the United States and the Atlanta area, all while making him feel at home with members of the club.

“It’s been very good,” Walker said. “It’s a great experience, being it is my first time in America. I have enjoyed it very much.”

Combined ShapeCaption
Toby Walker, Australia, who finished 24th, hits from the sand trap on the seventh hole during the final round of the Dogwood Invitational Golf Tournament in Atlanta on Saturday, June 11, 2022. (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Toby Walker, Australia, who finished 24th, hits from the sand trap on the seventh hole during the final round of the Dogwood Invitational Golf Tournament in Atlanta on Saturday, June 11, 2022.   (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Combined ShapeCaption
Toby Walker, Australia, who finished 24th, hits from the sand trap on the seventh hole during the final round of the Dogwood Invitational Golf Tournament in Atlanta on Saturday, June 11, 2022. (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres