Steve Jeffress wins Fiji International
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2014 Fiji International | Wrap | 17 Aug 2014
38 year old Gold Coast based New South Welshman, Steven Jeffress, has won the inaugural Fiji International following a superb final round of 70 in demanding conditions at the Natadola Bay Golf Club.
The strong breezes that buffeted the oceanside golf course for much of the 72 hole event made scoring difficult with only five players breaking par on the Vijay Singh designed layout.
The final round developed into a real battle between Jeffress and Newcastle’s Jake Higginbottom and when 20 year Higginbottom, the 2012 New Zealand Open winner, made the turn two shots clear of Jeffress, it appeared he might well be in for a second Tier One victory on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
Higginbottom though would bogey the 13th and 15th and when Jeffress converted an eight foot birdie putt at the 15th he had the lead by two despite Higginbottom chipping in for his bogey at the same hole.
Jeffress closed the event out strongly with birdies at three of his last four holes to win by four.
Queenslander Andrew Dodt kept in touch through much of the first nine holes but fell away with a roller coaster ride from the 10th. He would eventually finish in a share of 3rd with Victorian Terry Pilkadaris, four shots behind Higginbottom.
Korean HUR In-Hoi finished alone in 5th position, the first of the Asian players home just ahead of his fellow Korean Kim Tae hoon who shared 6th with West Australian Michael Sim and New Zealander Ryan Fox.
Jeffress, who is playing the Japan Tour with very little success this season, earns US$180,000, a cheque that he will be delighted with and undoubtedly the biggest of his career.
“I am over the moon and a bit surprised,” said Jeffress, who most significant win previously came in the 2006 Victorian PGA where victory was worth only 10% of the cheque he earned this week.
“It has been years of hard work and family support so it feels very special. I just hit it in the right places this week.”
The tournament’s marquee player, Vijay Singh finished in a very respectable 10th place and now heads back to New Jersey where as a result of being in 80th position on the FedEx Cup table he has a start in the opening event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The next event for the PGA Tour of Australasia will be the Queensland Open to be played at the Brookwater Golf Club at Springfield Lakes west of Brisbane and beginning on August 28th.
The OneAsia Tour’s next event is not until the Nanshan China Masters in Shandong Province on October 9th.