An Australian, an American and a South African entered a playoff… and the Australian emerged the winner.
Australian Nathan Holman has added his name to the long list of illustrious winners of the Australian PGA Championship by winning a three-man playoff at Royal Pines.
Holman’s solid par in the playoff at the difficult, redesigned 18th hole was enough to beat the bogeys of American Harold Varner and South African Dylan Frittelli and change his golf career forever.
The victory means the 24-year-old has earned himself an exemption on the European Tour for the remainder of 2016 season followed by 2017 as the tournament was co-sanctioned between the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour.
Holman also receives a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour of Australasia and an invitation to the 2016 World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational.
“It’s huge. I didn’t realise what was on the line really. It’s probably a good thing to be honest. I did think I’d get to those events in the future. I didn’t think it was going to be this quickly.” Holman said.
“For a young Australian guy to be able to go and play those events, play British Opens, it’s stuff you dream of playing golf when you’re a kid, to get into those events, just to play them.”
Speechless. Best feeling ever ⛳️🏆 pic.twitter.com/owXLRMJhrC
— Nathan Holman (@nholman37) December 6, 2015
Starting the day two shots behind co-leaders Zander Lombard, Dylan Frittelli and Harold Varner III, Holman got off to a horror start with a double-bogey on his opening hole but the young Victorian didn’t make another blemish until his final two holes. A bogey-bogey finish saw Holman get into the clubhouse at even par for the tournament and had to wait anxiously to see if it was enough to win or make a playoff.
As it turned out it was enough. South African Dylan Frittelli had an up-down-round at the immensely difficult Royal Pines layout and couldn’t get the elusive birdie required to win the tournament in his closing four holes.
To give you some indication how difficult the players found the conditions and the newly redesigned (by Graham Marsh) Royal Pines layout, just three rounds were carded in the 60s over the weekend with 2-under 70 the best final round score.
Harold Varner III carded the best round of the weekend. His 6-under par 66 on Saturday set him up for a shot at victory but a 3-over par round saw the PGA Tour player fall into the playoff. A wayward drive led to a bogey on the first playoff hole for the effervescent Varner but he will head to the Sony Open in Hawaii pleased with his form.
“That’s just the way it goes sometimes. I’ll be all right. I’m going to go have a great Christmas and get back to it. Just got to keep working and good things will happen. I’m playing well obviously so just got to keep working at it. My time will come eventually,” an upbeat Varner said after his round.
“I know I’ll be back. Hopefully I won’t have to get an exemption to come back this time but it’s okay, I will be back for sure.”