Bryden Macpherson: photo Golf NSW
Six weeks ago, Victorian, Bryden Macpherson, was outside the top 700 in the world ranking.
Today, as a result of his three-shot victory at the Golf Challenge NSW Open in Sydney, Macpherson will move to around 280th. This victory comes on top of his win at the Moonah Links PGA Championship five weeks ago but importantly this was a Tier One event on the PGA Tour of Australasia and carried a significantly larger first prize ($72,000).
Macpherson will also move to 8th on the 2020 /2021 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit completed today. To say the least the last two months have turned around the career of the 30-year old who, ten years after qualifying to play the Masters in 2012, has struggled to fully realise the significant potential he displayed as an amateur
Macpherson, who led by one through 54 holes, was engaged in a final round battle with recent recruits to the pro ranks, Elvis Smylie and Jack Thompson who would eventually share second place.
Michael Sim and Dale Williamson tied for 4th, just one behind the joint runners-up.
For Macpherson, who until now had been known for his 2011 British Amateur Championship victory and multiple success on the China Tour, the sensational start to the 2021 golfing year opens the door for options later this year including access to various stages of qualifying for golf tours worldwide.
“I honestly thought my chance was on 12 when I had a 12-footer for a little two-shot swing, but luckily I got another chance on 13 and I took advantage,” Macpherson said.
“I hadn’t really holed any long ones all week and I kept saying to myself that I’m due to hole one soon. It looked good the whole way.
“I didn’t seem to be reading putts very well. The best thing I could do was just stick in there and get lucky and some of the other guys will get nervous.”
Smylie has had a meteoric start to his professional career. The 18-year-old has been runner-up twice in the three events he has played in the paid ranks and in moving to 21st on the Order of Merit he guarantees himself security of tenure on the PGA Tour of Australasia for at least one year. His sights however will be set significantly higher than that now.
Smylie took the lead at various stages during today’s final round but a double bogey at the 17th cost him any chance of a win especially when Macpherson birdied the 16th soon after.
Elvis Smylie in action today – photo Golf NSW
23 year old South Australian, Thompson, like Smylie, has burst out of the blocks in his professional career. His runner-up finish today will move him to 23rd on the money list and, like Smylie, has an important early milestone in his career in terms of gaining status for the next season in Australasia.
The winner of the Order of Merit, Brad Kennedy won both the NZ Open and the Tournament Players Series Victoria event during the 15-month period the extended Order of Merit has been based on.
Kennedy finished 7th this week but by heading the OOM he has earned himself the right to play the European Tour for the next 12 months and creates as many questions answers for the Queenslander who currently plies his trade, in the main, on the Japan Golf Tour, when Covid allows again that is.