06 Feb 2021 | Professional golf |

Wood's fast finish wins Vic PGA

by Contributor

Chris Wood Vic PGA image
Chris Wood celebrates his win at Moonah Links. Photo: Australasian PGA Tour

By Tony Webeck, Australasian PGA Tour

An unexpected birdie at the 17th hole and a clutch putt from a metre at the 72nd hole has carried Queenslander Chris Wood to a one-stroke victory at the Victorian PGA Championship at Moonah Links. Overnight leader James Anstiss shot out to a three-shot lead with birdies at the third and fourth hole but with the might of the Open course and strong winds keeping the leading players in check, the back nine was full of twists and turns. New South Welshman Blake Windred bobbed his head in front with five holes to play but dropped a shot at the 14th that saw him fall back into a four-way tie with Wood, Anstiss and Michael Sim. Playing in the group ahead, it wasn’t until the 17th hole that Wood realised that he was tied at the top and as he monitored the reactions of the group behind, he closed with two birdies to claim the first PGA Tour of Australasia title of his career. “I just knew that six iron wasn’t getting there and the front bunkers were a no-go zone so I hit five and just tried to give myself a putt,” Wood said of his tee shot from 164 metres at the par-three 17th. “It was a pretty good shot actually but I wasn’t really trying to hit it that close. I was just trying to get it on the green. On 16 I was very aware of what they were doing. I was up on the 17th green and I knew that the boys hit it in there fairly close. I just listened to the crowd and nobody really clapped for a birdie. I knew that they’d missed it and I had a great chance on 17 for a birdie. “It went in end over end and was probably the purest roll I hit all week. That’s when I got nervous, walking to the 18th tee knowing I’m one in front. I know 17’s a hard hole, they’re going to have to hit a great shot in there to make birdie. “I just tried to have two more good swings on 18, dump it on the green and two-putt and that’s what I did.” Winner of the 2017 Morobe Open in PNG, Wood posted 20 under and then had to watch and wait as the final group all chased the eagle that would have forced a playoff, birdies by Anstiss and Sim leaving Wynnum Golf Club’s latest hero one shot clear at the top. “It’s been a whole bag of mixed emotions but at the moment just so happy with how I hung in there all week and kept my emotions in check,” said Wood, whose final day five-under 67 was bettered only by veteran Michael Wright (66) and Victorian David Micheluzzi (66). “From 18 onwards to now nervous and then an anxious wait. Then when the boys didn’t make the eagles up the last to force a playoff just happy and a sigh of relief to finally get a win.” The PGA Tour of Australasia stays at Moonah Links for the return of the Moonah Classic to the schedule, the Open Course to resume its hosting duties for four days starting on Tuesday.

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