Former State of Origin footballer Ben Ikin is set to take on Australia's tour golf pros at their own game after achieving an impressive drop in his handicap..
Ikin has accepted an invitation to play as an amateur in the Queensland PGA Championship at Toowoomba from February 21-24.
The former Brisbane NRL premiership player started talks with the PGA Tour of Australasia about a possible invitation last March when his handicap was seven.
Told it had to be down to a least 2.4 to get the nod, Ikin worked away and over the Christmas break got his handicap down to 1.7.
Ikin credited work with PGA professional Matthew Guyatt for the recent drop, securing his new handicap with a three under par round at Indooroopilly Golf Club last month.
"There are so many talented professional golfers in Australia and now I am going head-to-head with them," said Ikin, now a Fox Sports rugby league expert.
"I have set myself a big challenge to make the cut. I know it won't be an easy task but I am taking this very seriously and I will give it my best shot."
Ikin will hope he fares better in that goal than ex-NSW Origin star Braith Anasta who also caught the golf bug.
Anasta missed the cut by 20 shots when he played as an amateur in a pro tournament for the first time at the 2011 NSW PGA Championship, despite having his handicap down to scratch.
Guyatt, a former winner on the PGA Tour of Australasia, is impressed with Ikin's improvement.
"When Ben first came to me it was evident he had the skills but needed to learn how to manage his game better," said Guyatt.
"Ben is an amazing athlete so he picked up a lot of what we needed to work on relatively quickly.
"Now the focus will be on getting to scratch over the coming month whilst maintaining our goal of making the cut at the Queensland PGA Championship."