He might have been half the size of his playing partners, but a final-round three-under-par 68 earned Scott Arnold his first professional victory in the 2012 Victorian Open yesterday.
Despite constant pressure from fellow Aussie and playing partner Kurt Barnes, who finished one shot back, Arnold hit the perfect up-and-down on the 72nd hole to finish at 12 under after a tough lie in the face of the front green-side trap.
“When I saw it plugged in the face it wasn’t a really hard shot if I hit it right and lucky enough I did, and it rolled up pretty close,” he said.
His round also included what he said was probably the longest hit of about 350 metres on the 17th.
“I do hit it quite long for someone my size, especially with a bit of adrenaline coming in and those holes that a down-wind, you can get it a fair way,” he said.
“That one on 17 was ridiculous. I said to (my caddie) on the tee if that’s the ball down where I can see it, that’s so far down. And when I was walking down I thought it was a leaf and as we got in closer and closer it was the ball. I thought to myself ‘that’ll make it easier’.
Arnold turned pro in mid-2009 and said he was pleased to get one up on his brother, Jamie, also a professional golfer but he is yet to claim a win.
“It’s great, especially the way I did,” he said of the victory.
“I just sort of hung in there all day. I didn’t play fantastic golf but was still playing within myself and getting done what I needed to do. Barnesey was really putting the heat on, especially on the back nine at 11 and 12 and 13. I got out of my little zone and had to get back in and I was happy that I pulled it off.”
Barnes shot 66 to finish on 11 under, which he said “wasn’t bad”.
“I had to get out of the blocks early and I did and through nine holes I thought it was probably mine to lose,” he said.
“I hit a poor shot into 11 which hurt. I just tried to knock a wedge in there and I probably should have hit a full shot. I had a great lie in the bunker but wet sand and it just sort of scooted out there. That’s golf, though, and well done to Scotty.”
Kiwi Michael Hendry, who led the tournament at the end of play most days, finished third on seven under.
“I think the rain might have affected the greens a little bit,” he said of his final round.
“They were quite a bit bumpier than they were in the last few days but you’ve got to expect that with the rain we had and 100 people playing today. But I’ve never seen so many putts hit the hole, at not a lot of speed either, and found a way not to go in,” he said.
“On another day, they’d all drop and it would have been my day. It was just one of those things.”
He said he thought the concept of having men and women playing together for the men’s and women’s tournaments was a good one.