South Australian Chris Duke has won the 2016 PGA Professionals Championship at Hamilton Island Golf Club qualifying alongside runner-up Mathew Docking for the Australian PGA Championship in December.
Starting the day one shot behind overnight leader Darren Garrett, Duke birdied seven of his first 10 holes in the final round opening up a healthy lead.
Defending champion Matt Docking couldn’t put enough pressure on Duke over the back-9 and when Vernon Sexton-Finck who was playing with Duke, made bogeys on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes, the tournament was a one-horse race.
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Even a bogey on the tough 18th hole wasn’t enough to put a dampener on the celebrations with Duke carding a 4-under 67 for a tournament total of 8-under the card. Duke was clearly excited about playing the PGA’s flagship event in December.
“Before this week, the most prizemoney I have ever played for was $50,000 so to think in a few weeks time I am going to be playing against Adam Scott for $1.5 million is amazing,” said Duke.
Having moved to South Australia seven years ago, Duke completed his PGA Traineeship at Blackwood Golf Club and is now the Store Manager of the House of Golf ‘Mile End’. Having never been in a position to win a national championship before, Duke was pleased with the way he handled himself during the final round.
“I actually played really well all week but burnt the edge of the hole for the first two days without making too many putts. Today I gave myself plenty of good opportunities and lucky for me I was able to capitalise through the first 10 holes,” added Duke.
“It is hard to put into words what this win means. The whole of South Australia has done it pretty tough through the winter especially with the recent rain so hopefully this win can put a smile on a few faces.”
Duke’s 8-under par total is the lowest in the tournament’s history since its move to Hamilton Island five years ago and for two-time defending champion Matt Docking, it was a case of close, but not close enough.
“I had modest expectations heading into this week. From the moment I stepped back onto the golf course I had a lot of great memories come back, so I felt pretty comfortable,” said Docking.
“Although I didn’t get the three-peat done, I am over the moon to have the opportunity to play RACV Royal Pines Resort again and hopefully I can do better than my last couple of attempts.”
For more information on the Australia PGA Championships, visit: championship.pga.org.au/