Michael Sim – photo PGA of Australia
At the completion of an epic final round of the 2020 Queensland PGA Championship at the City Golf Club in Toowoomba, Gold Coast based West Australian, Michael Sim, has emerged the winner of the Tier 2 event following a four-hole playoff with Sydney’s Scott Arnold.
Arnold and Sim were left as the last men standing at the completion of 72 holes of regulation play after the man who had led for 70 holes of the event, Brad Kennedy, fell victim to a horror finish in which he dropped four shots in his final three holes.
Sim parred the 4th extra hole despite missing the green only to watch his close friend and 2009 Australian Amateur Champion and former leading world amateur, Arnold, three putt for bogey after both had, at times, looked the winner earlier in the playoff battle.
For Sim, it is his second PGA Tour of Australasia title following his 2017 Queensland Open victory although he did win the WA Open in 2019 but that event had lost its PGA Tour of Australasia status.
“Walking off 15 I thought any chance of winning was almost gone,” Sim admitted after a par at the fourth playoff hole was enough to defeat Arnold, a close mate who is hitching a lift back to the Gold Coast on Sunday evening.
“Everything just happened so fast. I stood on the 18th tee at 11 (under) and Scott was in at 13. I actually asked Graeme Scott the tournament director whether Scott had finished at 13. He’s a mate of mine and I thought I was gone but he said he’d actually finished at 12.
“Brad was over in the trees and I saw him lay up and I thought, I’ve got a chance here if I hit a good shot and birdie it, which I did.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today – I don’t really think anyone near the top of the leaderboard did. Everyone kept falling away and it was nice to hit a great 8-iron into the last there in regulation and give myself a chance in the playoff.”
Sim was once an outstanding amateur himself and quickly gained access to the then Web.Com Tour and PGA Tour soon after.
His career since, however, has been plagued with injury and loss of form and after battling to return to his former best he took up a bridging course with the PGA of Australasia after the responsibility of family saw the need to find a way to provide for his wife and youngster.
He has, however, shown in recent times that his game is returning to the level that saw him as one of Australia’s brightest young prospects in the late 2000’s and this week’s win further confirms just that.
“I’m doing my bridging program at the moment and I’m halfway through that but I seem to have been playing well since I started my traineeship. I’m not too sure what the future holds.
“There’s a lot of emotion. I never thought I’d be here and to come away with the trophy is just amazing.”
For Arnold he too is on the comeback trail after battling away on the Japan Development Tour of late. Earlier in his career he won on the European Challenge Tour and at the inaugural dual gender Vic Open at 13th Beach.
Four players including New Zealander Michael Hendry and long-time leader, Kennedy, both of whom three putted to last to finish one behind, Dimi Papdatos and New Zealand based Korean Chang Ji Lee tied for 3rd.
The PGA Tour of Australasia now heads to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast for the Tier 2 Queensland Open followed by the Tier One New Zealand Open in Queenstown the following week.