South Australian Chris Duke has won the 2016 PGA Professionals Championship at Hamilton Island Golf Club qualifying alongside runner-up Mathew Docking for the Australian PGA Championship in December.
Starting the day one shot behind overnight leader Darren Garrett, Duke birdied seven of his first 10 holes in the final round opening up a healthy lead.
Defending champion Matt Docking couldn't put enough pressure on Duke over the back-9 and when Vernon Sexton-Finck who was playing with Duke, made bogeys on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes, the tournament was a one-horse race.
Even a bogey on the tough 18th hole wasn't enough to put a dampener on the celebrations with Duke carding a 4-under 67 for a tournament total of 8-under the card. Duke was clearly excited about playing the PGA's flagship event in December.
"Before this week, the most prizemoney I have ever played for was $50,000 so to think in a few weeks time I am going to be playing against Adam Scott for $1.5 million is amazing," said Duke.
Having moved to South Australia seven years ago, Duke completed his PGA Traineeship at Blackwood Golf Club and is now the Store Manager of the House of Golf 'Mile End'. Having never been in a position to win a national championship before, Duke was pleased with the way he handled himself during the final round.
"I actually played really well all week but burnt the edge of the hole for the first two days without making too many putts. Today I gave myself plenty of good opportunities and lucky for me I was able to capitalise through the first 10 holes," added Duke.
"It is hard to put into words what this win means. The whole of South Australia has done it pretty tough through the winter especially with the recent rain so hopefully this win can put a smile on a few faces."
Duke's 8-under par total is the lowest in the tournament's history since its move to Hamilton Island five years ago and for two-time defending champion Matt Docking, it was a case of close, but not close enough.
"I had modest expectations heading into this week. From the moment I stepped back onto the golf course I had a lot of great memories come back, so I felt pretty comfortable," said Docking.
"Although I didn't get the three-peat done, I am over the moon to have the opportunity to play RACV Royal Pines Resort again and hopefully I can do better than my last couple of attempts."
With two female PGA Professionals qualifying for this year's tournament, Jade Fisher was successful in gaining a position in the Oates Women's Vic Open to be staged in February 2017 as leading female at Hamilton Island. For the Jindalee Golf Club Assistant Professional it has been an experience to remember.
"This has been a truly memorable week. I have been sending my family all of the photos I have taken this week and I think I have made them very jealous. To come away with another opportunity to play on an even bigger stage, is really exciting," said Fisher.
The Vicar Shield is the State versus State competition within the PGA Professionals Championship and despite a mixture of results in the final round, the team of New South Wales comprising of Matt Docking and Josh Ingram have taken out this year's title by just one shot from the West Australian defending ChampionsVernon Sexton Fink and Gavin Reed..For all of the details for the PGA Professionals Championship including scores and draws, click here
Headlines at a glance
Wilson trumps local favourite and two time champ
The skies in Victoria cleared just in time for 42 Professionals to tee it up at the Evolution Print Neanger Park Pro-Am.
What's on this week / 25th - 31st January 2017
Discover what's on in the world of golf and which Aussies are in action this week