A stretch of six birdies in seven holes saw Andrew Martin equal the course record on the Commercial Club layout on his way to winning the Commercial Club Albury Pro-Am but he was upstaged by NSW Professional Sam Newbrun who drove home a new Mercedes-Benz thanks to his ace day.
In what could only be described as one of the best pro-am fields to be assembled outside the metropolitan area; featuring European Tour players Marcus Fraser and Richard Green, David Bransdon who recently tied 4th in the Australian PGA Championship and National Pro-Am Order of Merit leaders Peter Wilson and Dale Brandt-Richards a capacity field gathered to contest the Commercial Club Albury Pro-Am.
Scoring seemed difficult for the morning players with only a handful of players under par on the small and sloping greens. Lloyd White, Brad Lamb and Shane Cochrane sharing the honours tied tied on 3-under 67.
However NSW Professional Sam Newbrun stole the show holing out on the par-3 10th hole winning himself a brand new C330 Mercedes-Benz valued at over $80,000. Local car dealer Baker Motors, a long time supporter of the event offered up the vehicle for the first player to score a hole-in-one of the 177m par-3.
This was the second time in three years that the car has gone off and Newbrun was speechless after it happened.
“I just can’t believe it, I don’t know what to say, this is the first hole-in-one I’ve ever had.” gasped Newbrun as he reached the green to retrieve his ball from the bottom of the cup.
A last minute decision to enter the event last week has seen him drive away with the best pay day of his Professional career and memory to last a life time.
The crowds started to build as the afternoon players hit the course. Many of the local spectators had come to see just one man, Marcus Fraser who hails from just down the road in Corowa.
He got to work right away with an easy birdie on the 1st before backing it up on the short par-5 2nd with an eagle. Another birdie on the 5th saw him make the turn at 4-under the card and in the lead.
Fraser extended his lead with a birdie on the 11th but that’s where his run ended, eventually signing for a 5-under 67.
The next most credentialed player, Richard Green, got things going as the temperature pushed past 36 degrees. The 2015 Victorian Open Champion got his round underway with a birdie on the 11th and then backed it up with three more on the 13th,16th and the 18th to turn for home 4-under the card and in hot pursuit of Fraser.
Green soon took the lead after back to back birdies on the 1st and 2nd but a costly bogey on the 3rd saw him tied with Fraser on 5-under the card. Green managed a good birdie on the 9th to regain the lead but when his tee shot on the 10th missed the putting surface on the high side and the subsequent chip glided past the hole he was left with an eight footer back up the hill for the clubhouse lead. His putt slide past and he tapped in for a boegy-4 and finished the round tied with Fraser on 5-under 67.
The pair were soon joined by Deyen Lawson and David Bransdon who both managed to keep clean sheets with five birdies and no bogeys. Michael Choi joined in the fun and soon there was a 5-way tie for the lead.
South Australian Max McCardle broke the deadlock. He too managed to produce a bogey free round that was highlighted by a back-9 that included four birdies. A further two birdies on the front-9 saw him take the outright lead by one shot with 6-under 64.
However it was Andrew Martin’s blistering stretch that began on the 5th hole that set up his win. Martin peeled off six birdies in seven holes to joined McCardle in the lead. A birdie three on the 16th gave him the lead and when he made easy birdies on the back to back par-5’s on the 1st and 2nd Martin had tied the course record at 9-under and signed for a three shot win. This win comes after some improved form from Martin who had battled early in the year on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
“I finished tied 8th back in October at the Indonesia Open and then I made the cut in the last three events on the PGA Tour of Australasia which was great.” said Martin who plans to head back to the Asian Tour in January to try and capture a card for the 2018 season.
“Now that I’ve retained my card here in Australia I’ll head to Asian Tour School with the view to play between both Tours next season.”
Martin was full of praise for the course at Albury too.
“The greens here were great. They didn’t have the shine that they have had in previous years which meant we were able to attack the pins a little more.”
“They are rolling perfectly too. It’s great to come here and play, it’s a great event as we finish our pro-am season.” Martin added.
The race for the 2017 National Pro-Am Order of Merit is still wide open with both Peter Wilson and Dale Brandt-Richards who were paired together for the day failing to make a cheque. Wilson’s lead remain just over $1,000 over Brandt-Richards as the players head to Mooroopna and Numurkah golf course over next two days for the Greater Shepparton Masters, the final event of 2017.
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