O'Malley wins New Zealand PGA playoff

BY iseekgolf.com | Web.com Tour | 2005 New Zealand PGA Championship | Wrap | 27 Feb 2005

Peter O’Malley has birdied the fourth playoff hole to take out the 2005 ING New Zealand PGA Championship after Steven Bowditch stormed home with a course-record-equalling nine-under par 63, coming from five-shots back at the start of the day to force a playoff.

O’Malley, who won the Clearwater Classic at the same venue in 2002, should have sealed victory in the regulation 72 holes, but missed a par putt of barely 40 centimetres at the last which would have seen him home with a 68 for 15-under.

Instead, he was back level with the in-form Bowditch at 14-under for the third time, and the pair returned to the 18th – four times. The first three times both managed par fours, but the fourth time O’Malley drained a birdie putt of around seven or eight metres to finally claim the victory.

Bowditch, who had a 64 on Thursday but a horror back-nine (42) in a third round of 76 on Saturday, started six shots behind at five-under but scorched the course with nine birdies through 14 holes – six of them in a seven-hole stretch from the eighth.

Last week’s Jacob’s Creek Open winner just missed an eagle putt on the par-five 14th, but the tap-in birdie took him one shot clear of O’Malley at that stage.

The long-hitting Queenslander then saved par with an excellent putt on the 15th, before missing a couple of birdie chances on the final couple of holes to complete his 63.

O’Malley set off in hot pursuit with three early birdies – and a bogey at the par-three fourth- moving him to 13-under through six holes of his closing round.

Two more birdies at the 10th and 11th had him in front again, but he gave one back at the 12th to fall back to a share of the lead at 14-under.

Then a birdie three at the 15th put the 39-year-old from Bathurst back in front and he held on resolutely, eventually chipping onto the 18th with a driver and lagging it to almost ’gimme’ range.

Americans Johnson Wagner and Jerry Smith shared third place at 11-under, Wagner after an even-par round of 72 and Smith thanks to a closing 70.

New South Welshman Steven Jeffress and American Troy Matteson both came home with 70s while Brandt Snedeker carded a 71 to finish at 10-under, tied for fifth.

Five players finished at nine-under: American Kris Cox after a bogey-free 67, Canberra-born Craig Carmichael, thanks to a 68 which featured three birdies over the five tough closing holes, American Jaxon Brigman (71), Colombian Camilo Villegas (72) and West Australian Kim Felton (72).

Scott Weatherly had eight birdies and a lone bogey in a seven-under 65 that got him to eight-under alongside Joel Kribel, who fired five birdies in a row from the second and eight in all in a 67, Greg Kraft (68), Jon Mills (69), Scott Sterling (69) and Jeff Gove, who started the day tied with O’Malley and Wagner but had a quadruple-bogey eight at the eighth to finish with a 75.

Pat Bates also returned a 67, also featuring five birdies in a row (from the fourth) and finished the tournament at seven-under-par, alongside Ricky Barnes (71) and the best-placed Kiwi, Mahal Pearce, who was a few places higher up the leaderboard before bogeying the 16th and 18th to complete a 73.

Just behind them was another New Zealander, Tony Christie, who came home strongly with a 67, after opening the tournament with a 66, however his 77 on Saturday undid some of his good work to see him finish at five-under for the tournament.

Source – PGA Tour
Photo – Anthony Powter

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