Wood secures first Aussie title at Victorian PGA
Chris Wood has secured a one-stroke victory at the Victorian PGA Championship after making birdies on the closing two holes to close with an impressive 5-under 67 at Moonah Links.
The victory was Wood’s first Australasian Tour win following top-3 finishes at the 2015 South Pacific Open and 2016 QLD PGA Championship and sees his world ranking move to a career best of 588th.
Chris Wood (Credit: PGA Australia)
Wood posted 20-under and then had to watch and wait as the final group all chased an eagle that would have forced a playoff. Impressive birdies on the 18th by James Anstiss and Michael Sim were not enough with the two sharing runner-up position.
Blake Windred finished in outright 4th position at 16-under with Justin Warren and Michael Hendry rounding out the top-5.
“It’s been a whole bag of mixed emotions but at the moment just so happy with how I hung in there all week and kept my emotions in check,” said Wood.
“From 18 onwards to now nervous and then an anxious wait. Then when the boys didn’t make the eagles up the last to force a playoff just happy and a sigh of relief to finally get a win.”
Wood was also somewhat relieved not to be the focus coming down the stretch, which enabled him to concentrate on his game and not what was going on around him.
“I haven’t really been up there in the Tour events, especially on the third and fourth rounds, final day, it’s always good to be out of that final group. I just tried to have two more good swings on 18 and dump it on the green and two-putt and that’s what I did.”
Overnight leader Anstiss took an early three-shot lead with birdies at the third and fourth hole before conditions changed with strong winds providing a challenge over the closing nine and forcing the leaders into a fight for the title.
Earlier Windred had played his way towards his first victory on the Australasian Tour to be leading with five holes to play but dropped a shot at 14 that saw him fall back into a four-way tie with Wood, Anstiss and Michael Sim with four holes to play.
Sim, a former US PGA Tour player based now back in Australia, also held the lead after a birdie on the 14th to be one up with four holes to play and almost closed it out on the next hole when his birdie putt lipped out.
“I had my chances coming in but I was just proud of myself for how I grinded out the front nine just to give myself a chance there at the end,” said the 36-year-old Sim.
“I didn’t really look at the leaderboard until the 17th tee when it was right in front of us and I saw Chris make two and go to 19-under.”
“I was just trying to focus on what I was doing. I wasn’t really trying to focus on winning the tournament just because I struggled so much the front nine with my ball-striking.”
The Australasian PGA Tour remains on the Mornington Peninsula for the inaugural Moonah Links PGA Classic, which kicked off this morning.