JYE Pickin is nearing the end of his amateur career. His apprenticeship is almost complete.
Pickin will tee up in the Webex Players Series Hunter Valley at Cypress Lakes, starting Thursday.
It will be the sixth event this summer where the 23-year-old has teed up alongside the professionals.
Another "good week" will seal a place at the final stage of Q-School in April.
All going well, the powerful right-hander will turn professional after leading the NSW amateur team's interstate series defence in May.
"You get to a point in anything in life where the next level, as you get closer, you want to get there," Pickin said. "It's something I striving for over the next few months."
Pickin bypassed three of the biggest amateur events in the country - Master of the Amateurs, Australian Amateur and NSW Amateur - to compete in professional events.
It was all part of an apprenticeship Pickin hopes will put him in good stead once he turns professional.
His best finish has been 13th in the Gippsland Super 6.
"Playing the pro events you learn a lot about what the next level is like," Pickin said. "The days leading up to it and what everyone does to best gear themselves to be ready for Thursday morning and the first round.
"Playing in the amateur events, you can have some really good results and your confidence can be high.
"At the same time, playing the pro events is a reminder of where you are really at if you do want to do this for a living.
"If you are always playing with guys at you level, you are not treading water, but you are not gaining a whole lot from that side of it."
Kazuma Kobori, a 22-year-old Kiwi who turned professional in November, has won the past three Players Series events.
Pickin's close friend and former NSW Amateur teammate Harrison Crowe was again in contention.
"Seeing guys who I grew up playing alongside doing well is a big motivator," Pickin said.
Pickin played in the Players Series Hunter Valley last year.
"I played pretty well," he said. "I comfortably made the cut and had a couple of mediocre rounds on the weekend to finish about 40th .It is a course that I have grown up playing."
Fellow young gun amateurs Jake Riley (Toronto) and Ella Scaysbrook (Newcastle) have also received invites to play in the mixed event.
Corey Lamb, Nick Flanagan, Brendan Smith and Aaron Townsend are the Hunter's professionals in the field.
** Waratah have continued their dream return to Newcastle District division one pennants with a 7-1 win over Newcastle at home.
Toronto accounted for Charlestown 5.5-25 in the other division one battle.