2017 National Pro-Am Order of Merit winner Peter Wilson recorded a strong eight shot victory in the Qantas Golf Club Teams Challenge on the Melbourne Sandbelt.
The three day team event saw amateurs and Professionals from all over Australia gather on the Melbourne Sandbelt to tackle some of the best courses in the world.
Calm conditions at Yarra Yarra Golf Club on Monday saw the scoring go pretty low. Daniel Smith Rory Bourke, Ryan Lynch and Matthew Griffin handled the slick greens all recording rounds of 2-under 70. Meanwhile Peter Wilson set up his week with a blistering 5-under 67 to take a three stroke lead to day two at Kingston Heath.
In the teams event it was Legends Tour member David Diaz with his group of members from Albert Park out in front. His team compiled a massive 89 stableford points to be one point clear in the lead from Dale Williamson of Sydney and Craig Davis from Mt Gambier
Spectacular conditions were on offer for day two at the world famous Kingston Heath. Blue skies and less than a club of breeze saw even hotter scoring than day one.
Bourke and Griffin continued their pursuit of Wilson recording rounds of 5-under and 3-under respectively. Kris Mueck returned to form with a 5-under 67 to breathe life into his chances of a top-10 finish. Wilson set the course alight with a sensational 8-under 64 to draw six shots clear of the field. His day highlighted by a run of five consecutive birdies midway through his round.
“I love playing here, it’s a real pleasure to be back at Kingston Heath,” said Wilson after his round.
“It was really about my pitching today; I just pitched it close and had a few tap in birdies. That always helps.”.
Wilson’s effort was not lost in the team’s event either. Along with his amateurs they amassed 86 stableford points to move into second place. Dale Williamson’s team backed up their strong showing from Monday recording the most points on day two, 87 points moving them in to the lead.
Lightning delays and strong winds stalled proceedings on day three at Victoria Golf Club. A rouge lightning strike just as play was about to commence saw players return the clubhouse to sit out a 30 minute delay.
As play was resuming the wind gusted to over 90km/h, bringing down branches and littering the course with debris. This brought a second suspension of play as the course was assessed and cleaned up.
Play finally got underway, two hours after the scheduled tee time but the field was still faced with tough windy conditions.
Scoring was extremely difficult but Tour veteran Scott Laycock showed his class as the only player under par for the day, finishing with 1-under 71.
Local Victoria Golf Club member Matthew Griffin was the next best on his home course with an even par round of 72. He finished the three round event on 5-under the card in second position.
Wilson kept his game together in the rough conditions and signed for an even par round of 72 ensuring he won the individual event by a massive eight shots.
“When we got back out there I knew it was going to be tough. Even par was my target and I knew that should be good enough to hold on despite the quality of the field,” said Wilson.
Wilson was full of praise for the event and the team at Qantas Golf Club.
“A big thanks to Robbie and everyone at Qantas Golf Club for pulling the event together. It’s great to be back playing Professional tournaments on the Sandbelt and I’d love to come back next year,” added Wilson.
In the teams event Scott Laycock’s team recorded the best score of the third day but in a shock result the team from Mt Gambier lead by Head Professional Craig Davis recorded the narrowest of victories. Posting the second best round of the day, their 82 stableford points saw them sneak just one point clear of Dale Williamson’s team who had been stalking the top of the leaderboard all week.
Davis and his team from Mt Gambier Golf Club, local supporters of the Qantas Golf Club events were one of the first teams entered and had been looking forward to the chance to play on the famous Sandbelt course of Melbourne for some time. Their win sees the amateurs walk away with 100,000 Qantas points each, enough for a return flight to the USA.
The Qantas Golf Club Victorian Teams Challenge is the first of two pro-am events hosted by Qantas Golf Club on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series in 2018. In a first for Australian golf the Qantas Golf Club’s next event brings together PGA Professionals (men) and ALPG Professionals (women) for the Gold Coast Challenge at Links Hope Island in March. Amateurs will play alongside both sets of Professionals throughout the two day competition with the chance to share in more Qantas points and other prizes.
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