NICK Flanagan is the defending champion at the Cathedral Invitational, but the unheralded Novocastrian is happy to fly under the radar below headline acts Adam Scott and Cameron Smith.
Flanagan won a play-off, after firing a pair of 69s, to win from Scott Arnold in the inaugural 36-hole event at the privately-owned Cathedral Lodge in Northeast Victoria.
The field features a who's who of Australian golf. The winner collects $100,000. Fellow Hunter professional Blake Windred is also in the field.
It will be Flanagan's final event on a whirlwind trip to Australia ahead of his full-time return in late January.
The 39-year-old missed the cut in the Victorian PGA and Australian PGA. He didn't qualify for the Australian Open.
"I get a lot of good vibes here after last year," Flanagan said ahead of the first round on Tuesday. "My form hasn't been great this trip, but that was to be expected after not playing for so long. Last year the course was firm and fast. The breeze got up on the second day which suits my game. When people aren't going super low, I can kind of bulldog my way in there. That is what happened last year. "
Scott stumbled to finish fourth at the Australian Open on Sunday. Smith was 17th.
"Playing alongside those guys, with where my game is at the moment, doesn't give me a lot of confidence," said Flanagan, who played on the US PGA Tour in 2007 and won three events on the second-tier tour before a chronic wrist injury.
"It is always good to catch up with them. A lot of guys use it as their end-of-season Christmas party. I will be happy to fly under the radar."
Flanagan, wife Corrine and his two children are moving from San Antonio back to Newcastle in January.
"The plan is to do a bridging course once I get back home so I can give lessons," Flanagan said. "We don't have a date locked down yet. We are waiting on passports for the kids. Hopefully, by the end of January, we will be in Newcastle."