New Zealand's Gareth Paddison calmly recovered from a late round glitch to sink a tournament-winning birdie putt and claim his second Victorian PGA Championship in north of Melbourne today.
A dropped shot on the penultimate hole at The Heritage Golf Club threatened to force a play-off against compatriot Michael Hendry, but he regained his composure approaching the club house with a solid drive and approach setting up a tricky three foot uphill.
The 33-year-old Wellingtonian, who won the $A100,000 tournament for the first time in 2012, looked destined to return to the 18th tee with Hendry, who improved from a tie for fourth to share the lead down the stretch.
"I was disappointed with my tee shot on the 17th but I couldn't put the whole tournament down to one shot," said Paddison, after accepting the Jack Harris Cup.
"I still had a job to do. Golf is a real mental battle, to birdie the last when you have to, that is what all the practice is about."
Paddison was confident a fifth PGA Tour of Australasia was possible after working had on his game with coach and PGA Professional Denis McDade.
"I was confident and always sure of myself on course.
"I did some great work earlier in the year with my coach. He said that what I had now was good enough to win.
"I felt that too and I came here determined to compete and felt like I should be up there."
Conditions were challenging all day and Paddison was relieved when his 22nd birdie of the tournament sealed his triumph.
"The wind was so strong out there all day. It was very tricky," he said after a one-under 71 - numerically his worst of the tournament.
Hendry's challenge appeared to falter when his bogeyed the 13th and 14th holes but a birdie on the next trimmed Paddison's advantage to one as the tension ramped up.
The Aucklander parred the last for a three-under 69 and then watched as Paddison regained his nerve to close out a narrow victory at 16-under.
Paddison replaced fellow Kiwi Mark Brown atop the leaderboard at the midway point and carried a two-stroke lead into the final round after a superb 66 studded with eight birdies yesterday.
Australian Jamie Arnold was the joint leader with Paddison after the second round and maintained that pressure to finish in outright third at 14-under.
Brown ruled the opening round with a stunning seven-under 65 on Thursday before three more sedate circuits saw him place in a tie for sixth, five shots off Paddison's pace.
Kiwis Michael Long and Ryan Fox also finished inside the top 20 in 16th at four-under.
Paddison's next assignment is the Queensland PGA Championship which starts on Thursday at the City Golf Club in Toowoomba.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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