A blistering 8-under par 65 has seen South Australian Max McCardle cruise to a three shot victory in the Greater Shepparton Masters.
Following round one play at Numurkah Golf and Bowls Club on Thursday, PGA Professionals took to the Mooroopna Golf Club on Friday for the second and final round of the Greater Shepparton Masters.
The predicted high temperatures arrived early and the hot north wind made conditions tough right from the beginning.
Starting the day at 3-over par Keysborough based professional Ruben Lal took no time setting the pace. His round of 6-under 67 saw him with the clubhouse lead by lunchtime with a tournament total 3-under 142.
Overnight leader Ashley Hall began his second round on 6-under, one shot clear of Brody Martin, Alex Edge and Jack Wilson after they recorded rounds of 5-under par 65 at Numurkah.
Hall started well and moved his total along to 8-under through the first four holes. When he missed a putt for birdie on the 5th and then made a costly double bogey on the 6th he was back to even for the day and 6-under for the tournament.
Edge was in a similar boat when he trade two bogeys with a birdie through an early three hole stretch of his round two.
It was Max McCardle who was making up all the ground. After beginning his round on the 3rd hole with a birdie, McCardle backed it up with four more on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th to head to the back nine 8-under for the tournament and two shots clear of the chasing pack.
“I was a little disappointed with my finish at Numurkah yesterday and I wanted to make sure that I came out strong today,” said McCardle
McCardle added a further birdie on the 12th before hitting trouble of the 14th with a bogey. Bouncing straight back McCardle birdied the 15th and 16th to get to 10-under for the tournament and put himself in a commanding position.
After missing the fairway left on the 18th McCardle needed to take relief from a sprinkler box in the trees. The perfectly flighted approach to the front of the green left him with an easy up and down to save par and remain at 10-under.
McCardle had a two shot lead with two holes to play which included the short par 5 1st hole which he birdied.
“I knew if I could just birdie the 1st hole then I should be right. I was watching the leaderboard on the app most of the day so I could see what was happening with the other guys” added McCardle.
A regulation par on his last hole saw McCardle return to the clubhouse with a three shot lead as he waited for the remaining groups to finish.
Hall pushed late in his round but when the putts didn’t drop for him on the back nine he had to settle for outright second, three shots behind McCardle on 8-under for the tournament.
One of the many other highlights of the tournament was veteran professional Michael Isherwood who had his 15th hole-in-one when his 6-iron on the 7th found the bottom of the cup.
The other came from Shepparton Golf Club’s Director of Golf Mitchell McComas who equalled the Mooroopna Golf Club course record with a blistering 9-under par 64, his back nine 29 included six birdies and an eagle in the tough conditions. This saw McComas move from a tie for 24th position over night to finish the tournament tied for 3rd with Matthew Millar and Brodie Martin.
This win now moves McCardle to the top of the VIC/TAS/SA Pro-Am Order of Merit, just over $700 clear of Michael Choi with just one event remaining at RACV Healesville this weekend.
Alex Edge’s 8th placed finish has seen him return to the top of the National Pro-Am Order of Merit just over $700 clear of Brett Rankin and Matthew Millar with only RACV Healesville and Seaview Pro-Am’s remaining. A top place finish here will see Edge, a solid performer on the pro-am circuit gain a 2019 exemption to the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia
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