Anthony Quayle – another win at home – photo PGA of Australia

He might have been born in NSW and raised until the age of 14 in the Northern Territory, but 27-year-old Anthony Quayle is a self-confessed proud Queenslander and today he added further to the pride he has in representing the Sunshine State with his second Queensland State title to go with his 2020 Queensland Open Championship.

Quayle converted a six shot 54-hole lead into a two-shot victory over New South Welshman Daniel Gale at the Queensland PGA Championship, but that very simple summary hardly describes the dramas of a day which ebbed and flowed and at one stage appeared as if Quayle might blow such a significant final round lead.

As he, his fellow Queenslander, Louis Dobbelaar and New South Welshman Justin Warren teed off in the final group of the day, Quayle appeared likely to add this title to the 2020 Queensland Open he won an hour up the road at Club Pelican in Caloundra.

But six shot leads can prove difficult to maintain in a final round as there is the ongoing question whether a player should attack and extend the lead or consolidate that which he had built over the opening three days.

Two of those six shots disappeared at the first when Quayle hit a tree with his tee shot, almost lost his second after perhaps trying to do too much from a an awkward lie, pitched short after a spectator luckily found his ball and then missed a ten-footer for bogey.

Quayle was perhaps lucky to find his ball at the first – photo Bruce Young

Initially it was Dobbelaar who made the first statement when he hit a beautiful approach to the 1st converted for a birdie and he had nearly halved his own starting deficit of seven.

But four holes later, all six of Quayle’s starting lead had gone and the momentum had swung to 26-year-old Warren whose power had proved a valuable asset over the opening five holes with four consecutive birdies to get to 11 under and at that point he was tied with the apparently faltering Quayle.

Quayle somehow found managed to settle things down with what could be described as the shot of the week when he powered a 5 iron 180 metres through the wind to the 6th, the magnificent iron settling less than three feet from the hole and when Warren over-shot the green, found the hazard and took bogey, the pressure was released and the margin was three once again.

“I got off to a terrible start and Justin (Warren) was pushing really hard,” said the winner. “He didn’t miss a shot on those first five holes and then the 5 iron from 180 metres to 2 feet settled me down a little bit and I was able to build a little momentum off the back of that.

“From that point on I calmed down a lot and felt like I had more control of my ball and then I hit a really nice shot into the par 3 8th  and holed a nice putt and I think after that I felt pretty settle for most of the day.

“Louis though made a big charge on the back nine and was looking really solid for a while so overall it was probably a bit more stressful than I thought it would be but it was also a lot of fun.”

“I thought Louis was my biggest danger during the back nine but I did notice that when I got to the 17th green that Galey (Daniel Gale) was 10 under and although I knew I had a two shot lead playing the last, that tee shot is pretty daunting with the water carry and even if you hit the green there it is not all over.

“I was pleased to feel that come off the club well, hit a good shot and two putt.”

Quayle, who has played most of his golf on the Japan Golf since turning professional, has yet to win in that country but he played well at last week’s Australian PGA Championship after taking a lengthy break from golf, in fact he had not touched a club since late November before the start of last week’s event at nearby Royal Queensland.

“I was just relaxing and just trying to clear my mind after a busy year in Japan and take care of a few things. Then I got Covid two weeks ago and was locked up for a week and so the last two weeks have definitely exceeded my expectations.”

His coach Ken Bernd from the Hills International Academy in Jimboomba was not on the golf course today but perhaps reflecting just what that coach player relationship means to Quayle is that ten years after leaving Hills, Quayle still works with Bernd.

“Last year was a difficult year for me on and off the golf course personally so to start the year like this and get a win is a little bit of validation that I can still compete, play well and do some pretty cool stuff.”

The recently announced strategic alliance between the PGA Tour of Australasia and the DP World Tour provides opportunities for players performing well in Australia to gain pathways to other tours and Quayle is aware and excited by the prospect that further good performances at home might offer an opportunity to play in the US in 2023.

“I hear there are exemptions at the end of the year based on where we finish on the money list here so I will try and push very hard for that before I go to Japan and then try and keep my status in Japan early so I can have status there and push for a card in the US.”

Daniel Gale – strong closing nine earns runner-up finish – photo Bruce Young

Runner-up, Gale, has become a consistent performer on the Australasian Tour since winning an event in Papua New Guinea in 2018.

He powered home with a round of 66 to keep the winner honest until the last hole but he fell two short. It was, though, the second time he has finished runner-up in an Australasian Tour event in addition to his win in PNG.

It was also yet another good week for recently turned professional Louis Dobbelaar who after winning two significant amateur events in the US last year, turned to the paid ranks in November and finished 3rd at last week’s Australian PGA Championship and 3rd again this week. His earnings in those two weeks are over $80,000 so his career is under way with a bang.

The youngest player ever (15) to win the New Zealand Amateur Championship and with a very classy amateur career behind him, Dobbelaar looks well on his way to success in the paid ranks.

The tournament was played over the recently opened layout at the Nudgee Golf Club on the Gateway Motorway near Brisbane. The course will benefit from maturity in the years ahead but there is little doubting the location assisted in attracting a large crowd to the final day of the $200,000 event and a successful start to staging the Queensland PGA Championship.

Louis Dobbelaar – a fine start to his professional career – photo Bruce Young