13 Mar 2021 | Queensland Open |

Dowling misses dream, but relishes opportunity

by Contributor

Billy Dowling

- By Jim Tucker


Billy Dowling just missed his dream of making the cut as a 15-year-old but a week of fresh belief and friendships made him a winner at the Isuzu Queensland Open.

The teen from Surfers Paradise Golf Club did something at Pelican Waters that went way beyond his impressive 72-73 effort to miss the cut by two strokes.

He had seasoned pros three times his age, like fellow Queenslander Michaael Wright, doffing their caps to him.

He had 2017 Northern Territory PGA champion Travis Smyth retweeting Dowling’s cool story with the tag “How good is this.”

Golf has captured Dowling and his 13-year-old caddie Archie Ward but their fun this week should coax more youngsters into thinking how cool is this game.

“I was so close to making the cut and that’s a really good feeling,” Dowling said on Saturday morning.

“It’s been a really great experience to be out here with all these big people and just knowing I can compete with all these big names.”

Dowling came oh-so-close to making the one-under-par cut line.

He was on the number when he teed off at 7.30am (AEST) on Saturday to finish the final three holes of his second round. Par-Par-Par would have been enough.

He hit a perfect drive with dew still glistening on the fairway of the 485m par five he faced first up. A sure second shot and a wedge to 5m gave him a birdie look straight away.

“It broke a little right and rolled out more than I thought. I was shaking on the three-footer I left myself on the way back,” Dowling said.

“I pushed it right and missed.”

It was a rare blemish because his masterful short game has been a feature this week. When Dowling’s approach on the next skewed right and cannoned off a tree, it looked all over. His chip ran by the pin and just off the green. He binned the 3.5m putt for par. Clutch.

He still needed a birdie down the tough last, the 417m ninth, to make the cut.

His five wood approach flew right and plugged in the wall of the bunker. That was it and a bogey left him with a 73.

“I’m proud of myself,” Dowling said.

“Definitely I’ll be back to give it a crack next year...for a better result.”

He might even need a razor by the time next year’s tournament rolls around and he’s in Year 12 at Helensvale State High.

You have to love golf stories like that of Billy Dowling and all it does for young dreamers everywhere.

The third round got underway at 9.35am am (AEST) under clear skies. Co-leaders Chris Wood (68-68), Bryden Macpherson (72-64) and Blake Windred (67-69) are off at 11.15am.

The trio are at eight-under as are veterans Michael Wright (67-69) and Peter Wilson (71-65), off at 11.05am after finishing par-par to finish off their second rounds earlier on Saturday.

RD3 tee times

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