West Australian golfer Jarryd Felton won the New Zealand PGA Championship in a thrilling three-way playoff at the Manawatu Golf Club in Palmerston North.
Felton was tied at 14 under par at the end of the regulation four rounds with Ben Campbell from Wairarapa and Victorian Josh Younger.
The trio headed to the 18th hole to find a winner and it was Felton who prevailed despite being wide off the tee.
Felton was able to recover and holed his putt for birdie and victory.
He admitted afterwards that luck was on his side in the play-off.
“I didn’t hit too good of a tee shot — I think I got pretty lucky actually,’’ Felton said.
“I capitalised and made the putt. I don’t think the Kiwi fans were too happy,” he added with a laugh.
Felton said his expecations prior to the tournament were not high.
“I came in to the week not feeling so confident but the more rounds I played around this course I started to grow in confidence and to win is a great feeling,’’ he said.
“I didn’t get too far ahead of myself. I could’ve had some really good scores the first two days but lost a couple of balls up trees early.
“I didn’t let it affect me because I knew there were a lot of other people walking back to tees.
“I just kept playing my game. I knew there was plenty of birdies out here as shown by the scores so I was able to keep it going.”
The win was Felton’s second win on the PGA Tour of Australasia. His first came in 2015 when he won the New South Wales PGA Championship when he was having just his fifth start as a professional.
Felton, 21, said the win was his biggest achievement to date.
“It ranks pretty high this one. I’ve had a lot of things going on mentally the last few months so to win is really good.”
The win gives Felton peace of mind for the future as it gives him full exemption on the PGA Tour of Australasia for the remainder of 2017 and all of 2018.
“Obviously we’re trying to keep our job at the end of the year,’’ Felton said.
“I finished really well on the money list last year, I think 18th on the order of merit, so I got a pretty good exemption category this year.
“Now I can kind of, not necessarily relax, but if I don’t play too well I’ve still got exemption all of next year.”
Meanwhile, Campbell was awarded the Sir Bob Charles trophy for being the leading New Zealander in the field.
Said Campbell: “I obviously would’ve much rather have both trophies, but silverware is silverware.
“It was a bit disappointing today. I hit the ball really well but I just struggled with the putter all day.”