Yarrawonga Mulwala Trainee, Frazer Droop, has held off two strong challengers on the final day to win his second Rich River Classic, the third Trainee to ever do so in the event’s rich 32 year history.
Starting the day four shots clear of Ballarat Trainee, Travis Tatt and six shots clear of Asquith Trainee and defending champion, Brayden Petersen, Droop shot even par to win by one shot over Tatt and Petersen who finished the tournament at 10-under.
After shooting 6-under yesterday and leading by four, many could be forgiven for thinking the result was a fait accompli, but not Droop.
“I am stoked,” said a jubilant Droop.
“I knew it was going to be close today.
“I said yesterday, I knew those boys were going to shoot low and that’s exactly what happened.”
The chasers were aggressive early, with both scoring three birdies in the first six holes to put the pressure on Droop.
By the turn, Tatt was only two shots back and Petersen closing his margin to five shots behind.
Petersen then poured on the pressure with consecutive birdies, causing a four shot swing in four holes after Droop bogeyed 12 and double-bogeyed 13 to find himself now tied for the lead with Tatt.
While Tatt couldn’t find that elusive birdie, Droop showed determination, birdying 15 to take a narrow lead with three holes to play.
Petersen then tightened the screws further, making a 20-foot birdie putt on 17 to join Tatt, one shot behind Droop with one hole to play.
Drama and the Rich River members surrounded the 18th hole as Petersen found the water on his second shot into the 532m par-5, but that wasn’t the end of Brayden’s story.
After taking relief, the 24-year-old’s chip shot hit the flagstick, but didn’t drop, resting inches from the hole as Petersen looked to the heavens.
After Tatt failed to make birdie, Droop then showed poise to make his par putt and become the 2019 Rich River Classic Champion.
“I’m really proud of what I was able to do today,” reflected Droop.
“Brayden was shooting the lights out and the putts weren’t rolling in for me today, but to make that birdie on 15, particularly after dropping three shots was a big moment.
“I had the perfect yardage for a knocked down 9 iron into 15 and I hit to four feet and made the putt.
“I knew that was a huge swing in momentum back to me when the pin was in such a tight spot.
“To win twice is amazing.
“There have been a lot of very good players that have won here so to only be the third person to do it in over 30 years is pretty cool and something I’m sure I’ll look back on with pride at the end of my Traineeship.”
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