06 Feb 2022 | Professional golf |

Sinnott back from the brink at TPS Vic

by Martin Blake

Todd Sinnott, Michael Song image
TPS Victoria champion Todd Sinnott and Junior Players Series winner Michael Song celebrate today.

Todd Sinnott has been to hell and back as a professional but with a steady par at the 72nd hole at Rosebud Country Club today he secured an emotional first victory on home soil to take away the pain.

Melburnian Sinnott, 29, is the champion of the TPS Victoria presented by Webex after a closing 66 gave him a one-shut buffer over New South Welshman Daniel Gale and Queenslander Anthony Quayle.

For Sinnott, it was the first win since he took out the 2017 Myanmar Open in Asia, coming after a period in which his professional life was threatened first by a serious back injury, and then by the Covid-19 pandemic the prevented him taking his playing rights on the Japanese Tour in 2020.

The stress fracture in his back and the fact that he had nowhere to play in 2020 are now behind him. “I’m not going to lie, it was really, really hard,” he said after the win. “But I have a belief and I practise my butt off. My coach Denis (McDade), I don’t think I’d be here without his help. I honestly don’t believe I’d be here. I think we can go places together.”

Sinnott began in the final group and in a share of the lead and his 66 was enough to pick up the $36,000 first prize. At one point on the back nine he trailed Quayle by two shots, but the Queenslander paid dearly for two pulled tee shots – at the 15th and the 17th – that led to bogeys. Then at the 18th after he pitched in close, Quayle could not make the short downhill putt for birdie that would have imposed pressure on the others and possibly forced a playoff.

Meanwhile Sinnott, playing in the group behind, made birdies at the consecutive par-fives, the 15th and 16th, and made regulation pars at the 17th and 18th to close it out, finishing with a par putt of just more than a metre.

So focused on shot-by-shot had he been that he did not even know that he had won. But turning toward his mother, Debbie Burns, a few metres away, her own fist pump gave him the signal and he finally joined the celebration. A spray of champagne from fellow-pro Zach Murray on the green followed.

Sinnott finished the week at 20-under par after rounds of 68-65-66-66. “I said to my caddie ‘I don’t care what anyone else does. I just want to shoot the lowest score that I can shoot, and see where we end up after’. I think that’s a good mentality, playing your own game and making birdies.”

A long bomber originally out of Kooringal Golf Club in Melbourne’s west and more recently Metropolitan, he was grateful to be surrounded by people close to him. “It’s most special because I’m with my family and my friends. To have them here. Last time (in Myanmar), I was 15 hours away on a plane. A lot’s happened since then.”

Sinnott did not make a bogey all day, rolling in five birdie putts. The victory will see him vault up the order-of-merit with three spots on the DP World Tour to come later, but he is heading back to Asia to play soon.

Blake Collyer, who shot a closing 65, was next best at 18 under par in fourth place, while another Victorian Cameron John was fifth at 17 under par, a bogey at the par-five 16th ending his run.

Bryden Macpherson broke the course record with a stunning 61, finishing tied for sixth with the best of the women pros, Wales’ Lydia Hall and Queenslander Jake McLeod at 16 under. Seventeen-year-old Metropolitan star Michael Song won the Junior Players Series event at one-under par overall, a shot ahead of Levi Sclater.

Song three-putted the last hole to leave himself in danger of a playoff, but Sclater was unable to get up-and-down from the greenside bunker and bogeyed.

The teenager was born in Canada but grew up on the golf course at Royal Pines in Queensland before his family moved to Melbourne five years ago.

“It was really good to see everyone out here having fun and I had fun as well,” he said. “They (pros) were lovely to play with. It’s good to see how they have their own personal game. It’s good to be along with them.”


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