Andrew Martin – photo PGA of Australia
Nearly 16 years after turning professional, former Australian Amateur Champion, Andrew Martin, has won his first PGA Tour of Australasia title with a one-shot victory at The Player Series Sydney event at the Bonnie Doon Golf Club.
The 36 year old Victorian began his final round eight shots behind the leader, Charlie Dann, who at one stage today led by five but an outward nine of eight under 29 (which four eagles, one birdie and a bogey) saw him on the heels of the leader and birdies at his 11th and 18th holes saw him take a two- shot lead into the clubhouse.
The four eagles in any one round is believed to be a record in tournament golf but for those four to come in his opening nine holes made it even more spectacular.
Dann was some 45 minutes behind Martin on the golf course and when he made the turn in 3 under he was at 19 under for the event and well clear of the nearest chaser.
Then came three consecutive bogeys to behind his back nine and with Martin putting together his final round of 61 he took the lead.
Dann was unable to close the gap and, looking to force a playoff at the last, eventually three putted to finish alone in second place but two behind Martin.
Martin has finished runner-up in events previously, namely the 2012 NZ PGA Championship behind Michael Hendry and the Coca Cola Queensland PGA Championship in Toowoomba the same year but given his significant amateur success it has been a long road as a professional thus far.
“It’s still a bit of a whirlwind,” Martin explained. “To shoot 10-under, that’s still hard to get through my head, but mainly just the support of my family and my wife Rachel has given me to be able to keep doing this because it is tough in Australia to make a living here.
“I’ve never really fallen out of love with the game. I’ve always wanted to do it and if I was ever going to stop playing it would be a hard pill to swallow because I still feel there is a lot I want to achieve.
“This is one little box ticked but there a couple more I want to do. It’s just good to show that my game is still there.”
Despite the relative lack of world ranking strength in the field, Martin will improve more than 300 places in the world ranking to just inside the top 500 as a result of his win and achieve his highest ever ranking.
For Dann, who was also looking for the first win on his two year professional career, to have let such a significant lead slip but he can rest easy in the knowledge that his defeat was more to do with the brilliance of Martin’s day rather than his own demise.
Dann’s second place finish was by some margin his best finish in tournament golf and that he was able to lead for as long as he did will stand the former Master of the Amateurs Champion in good stead for future endeavours.
Charlie Dann – near miss for the Queenslander – photo PGA of Australia
The main talking point of the week was the professional debut of the outstanding 18 year old Elvis Smylie who gave a further indication of just what a future he has when he finished tied for 3rd, one shot behind Dann.
But for a hiccup in the middle of his Saturday round where he dropped four shots in two holes in the middle of his back nine it might have been a much different story to report on but it was nonetheless an outstanding debut, providing confidence and a little bit of cash ($7,350)
Smylie tied for 3rd with fellow Queenslanders, the amateur Louis Dobbelaar, Shae Wools-Cobb, Brett Rankin and New South Welshman, Jordan Junic.