Braden Beacker (centre) holds his precious trophy – photo PGA Tour of Australasia

29-year-old Braden Becker has won his first PGA Tour of Australasia title with a one-shot victory over outstanding amateur and defending champion, Hayden Hopewell, at the West Australian Open at the Freemantle Golf Club south of Perth.

Born in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa before moving to Perth at the age of 8, the now Mandurah based professional has become a consistent performer on the pro-am circuit in the west but until this week his best performance in a PGA Tour of Australasia event has been when runner-up at the SP PNG Open and 4th at the WAPGA in 2020.

Today Becker took a four shot lead into the final round but eventually held on to win narrowly over Hopewell who began the final day five off the pace, with NSW’s Nathan Barbieri another shot back in third place.

In a rather bizarre finish, Becker bounced his wedged fourth shot at the closing par-5 off the golf ball of playing partner Nathan Barbieri, sitting in the fringe behind the green, and back to a foot from the flag.

It left him with a tap-in par when it could have been so much worse, and moments later a stunned Hopewell three-putted from long range to hand the win to Becker, 29, who has been a prolific winner of pro-ams but had never completed the task over four rounds.

Tied for 4th place were previous winner and US Amateur runner-up Oliver Goss and the in form Josh Armstrong who shared the third and fourth prizes in the professional pool given Hopewell’s amateur status.

“I’m in shock,” said Becker. “I’m still shaking. Hit a lot of good shots and I hit some terrible ones and I got punished for them, and I just scraped through.”

Becker receives a two-year exemption to play on the Australasian Tour. “It’s a really good feeling, knowing I’ve got somewhere to play for a couple of years, it’s awesome, but it also gives me the confidence and the dollars to go and push somewhere else, whether it’s DP World Tour or Korn Ferry.”

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