Photo courtesy of PGA of Australia
46-year-old Gold Coast golfer, Brad Kennedy, has played just two events since his second New Zealand Open victory 11 months ago but he gave a further display of his quality game and mindset when one of those events resulted in victory in the inaugural Player Series Victoria at the Rosebud Country Club on the Mornington Peninsula today.
Kennedy held off his fellow Gold Coaster and a young man 28 years his junior, Elvis Smylie, to win by one after Smylie had produced remarkable weekend scores of 63 and 63 including birdies at his final three holes to catch the leader at the 18th before Kennedy, playing in the group behind, birdied the last to take the title.
Kennedy’s only other event since his win at the Millbrook Resort near Queenstown last March was when taking up an invitation to play the ZOZO Championship on the PGA Tour where he finished a very credible 41st.
For Kennedy, a regular on the Japan Tour in non-Covid days, it was his 6th PGA Tour of Australasia victory and his 14th as a professional and further confirmed him as one of the quiet achievers in Australian golf.
Kennedy works closely with performance coach, David Alred, who recently also started working with last week’s runner-up in Abu Dhabi, Jason Scrivener of Perth. Alred is perhaps best known for his role in taking the likes of Luke Donald and Francesco Molinari to the elite of world golf but he is working and achieving success with several Australian players.
Kennedy had been plagued by a hip injury for much of the final round but managed to play through the pain as he adjusted accordingly.
The highlights of his round were a pitch in for eagle at the 2nd hole and an eagle at the par 5 16th which came on top of an albatross during round three.
Elvis Smylie – photo PGA of Australia
Smylie, the 2019 and still current Australian Junior Champion, began the final round six shots behind Kennedy but an opening nine of 30 including a run of five consecutive birdies in the middle of his round had him knocking on the door.
LPGA Tour player, Su Oh, finished 3rd, two shots behind Smylie and tied with NSW rookie Nathan Barbieri in an event where Men, Ladies and Juniors played against and with each other.
Oh, and the other ladies in the field played from the ladies’ tees but her effort to record two rounds of 65 during the 72 holes augurs well for a return to the LPGA Tour next month.