Allenby captures second consecutive Australian PGA
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2001 Australian PGA Championship | Wrap | 18 Nov 2001
Robert Allenby has shown over the past two years that he is clearly the best Australian player currently and his performance at Royal Queensland this weekend again showed why. Taking the lead after a first round of 65 Allenby fought off all those who came at him (and there were a few) to capture his second consecutive Australian PGA Championship.
Allenby again displayed just what a competitor he has become over the past two years. His form over the week was indifferent playing ordinarily on Thursday from tee to green but putting the eyes out of it then on Friday the reverse happened with a poor putting display to follow some great tee to green play. He is a different man now, however, seeming to go with the flow a lot more than in the past when inconsistency may well have gotten the better of him mentally. It now appears that he subscribes to the theory that golf is not a game of perfect and manages his way around the course even if things are not going well.
He started the last round one ahead of Ogilvy and Parry and by the time had reached the turn he had shared the lead at one stage or another with Parry, Ogilvy, Paddison and Goggin. The battle for first place turned into a bit of a match play affair over the last few holes as Ogilvy and Allenby drew clear of Paddison who had faltered a little on the run in (after a great run early) and Parry.
Ogilvy who was anxious to secure his first win as a professional tried valiantly but the final turning point appeared to be the par five seventeenth where Ogilvy trailing by one leading into the reachable par five drove the ball perfectly with Allenby deep in the right hand trees. Allenby, however, found a way through to set up a relatively simple pitch that he knocked close and made the birdie. Ogilvy on the other hand missed the green from the middle of the fairway could knock make par and therefore went to the last trailing by two.
The last hole was again full of intrigue with still many permutations possible. Ogilvy’s birdie putt rammed the back of the hole and fell in and that left Allenby a two-metre putt to win. He took little time and stroked it into the middle to win by one. Ogilvy although disappointed must also have felt a sense of satisfaction having been out of contention in a tournament for so long he contended all the way down the stretch hardly giving an inch. Here is little doubt it will happen for him and before too long. One of the most interesting comments he made during the week and a lesson for all golfers was that he had finally realised that he was becoming too bogged down with technique and had made a decision to return to a more freewheeling attitude on course. His return to form vindicates that decision.
Of the rest the most impressive was 21-year-old New Zealander Gareth Padisson in his debut as a professional. This young man appears to fear nothing and it was hard to believe just looking at him that he was in his very first event as a professional. Mind you this is a man who made the cut at the Canadian Open this year and in fact after two rounds actually led the great Tiger Woods. This performance combined with his outstanding finishes in several significant amateur events showed that he was a star of the future. Third place at the Australian PGA on debut will often be referred to in the future of this man’s no doubt promising career.
Mathew Goggin also showed a welcome return to form and he too stayed in contention for most of the week signalling a steady return to form for the Tasmanian. He leaves for the US this week to attend the final stage of qualifying for the US Tour having failed to retain his full card this year.
Greg Norman thrilled the galleries on Sunday, working his way into contention by the time he reached the par five thirteenth. At that stage he was only two behind and threatening danger but a bogey at the par three fourteenth slowed the momentum and his challenge faded. Still, sixth place was very good for a man who plays little competitive golf these days.
A successful completion to the contractual arrangement that Royal Queensland has had with the PGA. As to where it will be next year is debatable. The options are to return to RQ as a tried and true tournament venue or there are many who believe that the event will head to one of the several high-class courses in the region that Norman has designed. The Glades, Pelican Waters and the yet to be opened Brookwater may all come into contention. Norman after all has a commercial interest in the event and it may be that part of his long-term strategy in getting involved was to bring such an event to course designed by him and who could blame him.