Paddison takes over where Sir Bob Charles left off
BY Bruce Young | Von Nida Tour | 2004 Victorian Open | Wrap | 25 Jan 2004
It is perhaps fitting that just one week after the retirement of his fellow countryman and lefthander Bob Charles, that Gareth Paddison should step up and win his second professional event with the 2004 Mitsubishi Motors Victoria Open.
Just over two years ago the then 21-year-old Paddison, who gained his Australasian Tour card in 2001, joined the professional ranks in a flurry, finishing third at the 2001 Australian PGA Championship behind Robert Allenby and creating an expectation amongst those around him to quickly establish himself in the professional ranks. He had after all won the Canadian Amateur Championship that year and made the cut at the Canadian Open a USPGSA Tour event. Performances of that nature do not come without some sort of game.
As is so often the case however, things did not come quite as quickly as anticipated for Paddison as he struggled to gain access to a tour that would allow him continuity of play. He would win the Scenic Circles Hotels event in Dunedin on the Development Tour in March of 2002 but for the rest of the season he struggled on the European Tour, missing all four cuts and finishing 64th in eight events on the Challenge Tour, despite being third at the Izki Challenge of Spain. He returned home via Taiwan that year where he finished fourth at the Taiwan Open and then showed flashes of form at the Australian Open and the New Zealand Open late in 2002 and early 2003.
He would return to Europe in 2003 without a lot of success, one top ten in Luxemborg being his best showing before three solid Australasian Tour finishes pre-Xmas suggested that things were on the improve. He finished 42nd at the New Zealand Open last week but here at the Woodlands Golf Club it seemed that a new Gareth Paddison had stepped up. He did not play well earlier in the week at British Open qualifying, finishing 38th out of 55, so while this victory was welcome, it was hardly expected.
If there has been one factor in Paddison’s game I have noticed and been somewhat concerned about it has been his tendency to get ahead of himself when in contention. He has been guilty of rushing and allowing adrenalin to take over at times in both the physical and mental aspects of the game so it is heartening to see that he was able to remain in contention in this event then extend the lead as the winning post got nearer.
While this is a Von Nida Tour event, it may well be the catalyst for Paddison to go on and realise much of that potential that he showed as an amateur and to fulfil many of the expectations his early success created. It may also further reconfirm the important role the Von Nida Tour is playing in allowing this regions brightest young stars to develop winning habits.
His five shot win at the Woodlands Golf Club over Paul Sheehan and another leftie in Richard Green, suggests that 2004 may well be the year that sees the New Zealander make a great step forward in his chosen career. Green, who has won only one event in the last seven years, the lucrative Dubai Classic in 1997, had the best round of the day with a 66.
Sheehan, who made such a stunning debut in Japan last season finishing 20th on their money list, showed once again that his decision to focus on golf instead of tennis was a smart one. Sheehan was one of Australia’s best junior tennis players but seemed to enjoy golf more then tennis although you can almost bet that he kept a close eye on the Australian Open being played this week in Melbourne. Another making his mark in Japan, Wayne Perske, was alone in fourth.
The next event on the Von Nida Tour will be the only other event won by Paddison as a professional, the Dunedin Classic, the week following the New Zealand PGA Championship, from March 4th through 7th.