With a final round of 4-under par 68, 19-year-old Cooper Eccleston has taken out the 2018 Tony Hollands Funerals QLD PGA Trainee Championship.
Starting the day two clear of Brayden Petersen, the Victoria Park PGA Trainee Professional got off to a steady start with birdies on his third and ninth holes and found himself leading by four shots at the turn.
A bogey on the 11th, however, was only a slight stumble before making birdies on the 12th, 13th, and 15th holes. Despite a soft bogey on the par 3 16th, a final hole birdie was enough to record a four-shot victory over Victorian Frazer Droop who carded a great final round of 5-under 67.
“Yesterday I couldn’t believe my name was on top of the leaderboard though I gradually got used to it and in general felt pretty calm and composed for most of the day,” said Eccleston.
“I drove it really well in the closing holes and never really gave the chasers a chance to get a look in which took the pressure off down the stretch.
“I feel like my game peaked at the perfect time. My preparation was great going into this week and the support I received from my employer Tim Porter and all of the team at Victoria Park Golf Complex has been very humbling.”
In addition to the lion’s share of the $35,000 in prize money, Eccleston also receives an exemption into the 2019 Coca-Cola QLD PGA Championship and reflected on what that meant.
“Opportunities to mix it with the country’s most seasoned professionals not only provides a great experience, it allows me to see where my game is at in order to ensure I am ready when I finish my PGA Traineeship at the end of 2019.”
For Droop it was a second consecutive runner-up finish at the championship though he is pleased with where his game is at for this time of year.
"Winning the Victorian Trainee Championship a few weeks ago and now runner-up here this week is really confidence boosting,” said Droop.
“I played really solid today and if a couple more putts had dropped who knows what kind of pressure I could have put on Cooper though he was extremely solid today, and deserves all the accolades.”
The PGA Trainee Professionals were extremely pleased to have been able to play on one of South East QLD’s best golfing facilities, Indooroopilly Golf Club, and much discussion was had about the unique concept of playing on four different layouts during the tournament.
“There is no doubt playing on four different layouts brings some challenges with preparation though it certainly allows the cream to rise to the top,” said 2017 Australia PGA Trainee of the Year, Ben Pisani.
“We are all very appreciative of the Indooroopilly Members giving up their golf courses during the week and given I started my Traineeship here before moving south, their amazing commitment via volunteering and general interest in the tournament, does not surprise me."
PGA Trainees will now return to their respective states to resume regular PGA Trainee events and ongoing education requirements before reconvening at Riverside Oaks Golf Club for the NSW/ACT PGA Trainee Championship in August.
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