Younger denies Smyth in NSW Open playoff win
An emotional Josh Younger is finally able to bury the bridesmaid tag following his victory over New South Welshman Travis Smyth at the NSW Open.
The 35-year-old was well on his way to victory before succumbing to the nerves with a double-bogey on his final hole, which opened the door for the 24-year-old Smyth to level up the tournament on 17-under.
Josh Younger (Credit: Golf NSW)
Younger and Smyth were inseparable on the first hole with matching pars before Younger was able to make his mark by laying up to within 2-metres at the second playoff hole to secure his first Australasian PGA Tour title.
“It’s relief. I’ve been pro for 10 years. I got pipped in a playoff in New Zealand PGA in 2016, finished runner up at the (2017 Australian) Masters, so I sort of haven’t really gotten near it as much,” Younger said.
“It’s just so hard to win, that’s the reality of it. There’s 150 blokes each week, competition is just that good now and the cards have got to fall your way.”
“There’s times where you can play your best tournament and someone just has better. There are other times when it might fall your way a little bit so it’s a massive relief.”
After taking the opening round lead with a 9-under 63, Younger posted rounds 70, 67 and 71 for his maiden win to cap off what the Victorian describes as a tough year.
“I had a pretty consistent year last year. With my coach Tim we’ve been working on a bit of stuff. Every time I see him it’s been as good as it has been but I just haven’t translated it onto the golf course,” said Younger.
“I probably didn’t play as many events this year and then I missed the cut in Thailand and thought nope, I’m going home. When I got home I rang my mate Sean Lynch who I’ve done a bit of mental stuff with.”
“I went up to Brisbane for a couple of days and I had a nice chat with him and worked on a bit of stuff and then went back home, won a two-day pro-am in Victoria then went to Malaysia last week and finished 21st so it’s sort of been trending.”
“This week anytime you have a good start you’re sort of there abouts.”
Alongside the Kel Nagle Cup, Younger takes home $72,000 for his win as well as an all-important exemption through until the end of 2020.
The Western Australian young star Min Woo Lee narrowly missed a chance at joining the playoff on the final hole and had to settle for outright third place on 16-under.
Lee will be rueing his final round 73 after earlier rounds of 64, 67, 68 left him in a perfect position to claim his first professional title at just 21-years-old.
Andrew Dodt finished in outright 5th after setting a new course record with an 11-under 61 on Friday. However, weekend rounds of 72 and 73 left him four shots off the pace on Sunday at 13-under.
The Tour now moves to the Australian Golf Club for the Australian Open starting this Thursday.