After a week of crazy weather conditions, 19-year-old Ben Eccles wins the NSW Open Championship.
Courtesy of the pga.org.au
Victorian amateur Ben Eccles has claimed the 2015 NSW Open Championship, securing the title after a week that delivered challenging weather conditions at Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club.
Eccles started the final round with a four shot lead ahead of New South Welshmen, Peter Lonard and Clayton Bridges.
Eccles, who has hit the ball solid all week, fired a final round even par 72 to end his week on 19-under 269 to secure a three shot victory over Rohan Blizard and Matthew Millar.
“I’m absolutely over the moon. I’m speechless, I really don’t know what to say,” Eccles said after the round. “It was a great feeling after the tee shot on 18. It was a pretty tough tee shot into the wind but all my nerves settled after I hit the shot.”
This is Eccles’ first win on the PGA Tour of Australasia as an amateur, however is ineligible for the prize purse, which will go to Blizard and Millar as the leading Professionals.
The 20-year-old’s performance on the Greg Norman designed layout has been nothing but consistent, appearing calm and comfortable during every round.
“I was pretty nervous; I didn’t sleep that much last night. I had a chat with my team this morning and went over everything and I’m just stoked,” Eccles said.
Born in the United Kingdom, the Victorian surf coast resident has played a number of Professional events this season on the PGA Tour of Australasia, with his best finish coming at the Oates Vic Open in February where he finished tied for third.
The last amateurs to win on the PGA Tour of Australasia were Jake Higginbottom, who made history in 2012 when he became the first amateur since 1956 to win the New Zealand Open, and Oliver Goss, who won the WA Open the same year.
Remaining as an amateur for now, Eccles will tomorrow tee up at pre-qualifying for the UNIQLO Masters.
However, should Eccles decide to turn Professional, he will be able to take up his exemptions on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
In 2013 Eccles won the New South Wales Amateur Championship and earlier this year captained the Victorian Men’s team to interstate victory; going through the series undefeated.
Eccles is in his third year of the Victorian Institute of Sport’s golf program.
Rounding out the top-10 are Tim Hart, Jared Pender, Tom Bond, Daniel Fox and Peter Lonard who all finished on 15-under, while Troy Cox, Mitchell A. Brown and Aaron Wilkin were all a further shot back.