Matthew Ecob claims first professional title at 33
BY Bruce Young | Von Nida Tour | 2004 New South Wales PGA Championship | Wrap | 14 Mar 2004
Matthew Ecob’s narrow one shot win in this week’s Von Nida Tour’s Bega Cheese NSW PGA Championship, signals a first time win for the 33-year-old from Sydney.
A battler on various tours worldwide for some ten years, Ecob has only in the past two years shown that all the hard work would pay off. There had been the occasional good finish including his second placing behind Anthony Painter at Coolum in 1996, but until this past season there was not a lot else to rejoice about.
Towards the latter part of the 2003 season, Ecob seemed to find another level to his game including three top twenties in the last three events of the season. His 9th placing at the Australian Open lifted him to 22nd on the 2003 Australasian Order of Merit, an all time best finish in any one season by him and suggested there was something even better not too far away. There has also been reasonable finishes in a couple of events this season including his 24th at the Heineken and his 17th at the Jacob’s Creek Open, but this win will no doubt inspire him to even bigger and better things. Ironically Ecob had missed the cut at his last event, the New Zealand PGA Championship, recently.
Ecob finished runner-up to Greg Chalmers at the 1993 Australian Amateur, but the professional success that many had predicted had not been as forthcoming as that of his fellow finalist that year. He has tried on several occasions to gain access to some of the more lucrative tours via qualifying schools but like so many has found just getting the right to play anywhere a tough task. He just missed out advancing to the 2nd stage at USPGA Tour qualifying last year.
Interestingly Ecob had finished second in this event last year behind Chris Downes, but today when taking the lead into round four he was not about to let such an opportunity go. He had to hold off strong challenges from current Australasian Tour Order of Merit leader, Euan Walters and Nathan Green, who double bogeyed the last to open the door for Ecob.
Ecob was there when those around him fell however, so his win was well deserved. The three had broken away from the chasing pack over the final few holes with Cameron Percy finishing alone on fourth place three behind the joint runners up.
Ecob joins New Zealanders Gareth Paddison and Mahal Pearce as the three winners winners to date on this year’s Von Nida Tour.
The Von Nida Tour now heads to the Woolooware Golf Club for this week’s Toyota Southern Classic.