David McKenzie, who has finally broken through for his first Australian PGA title, is expected to carry his good form into next month’s Vic Open at Thirteenth Beach.
McKenzie won the Victorian PGA Championship at Forest Resort Creswick on Sunday, beating fellow Victorian Scott Laycock by two shots.
It has been a long wait for the 45-year-old, who turned pro in 1990.
There have been close calls and a win on the US secondary tour, but McKenzie could never quite close out a tournament at home.
He played one season on the US PGA Tour, collecting two top 10 finishes and for years made a decent living from what is now the Web.com Tour, where he was successful in 2005.
“It’s been hard work for a while. It’s been a long time coming,” McKenzie said. “Words are eluding me now. I actually lost a Victorian PGA by missing a short putt about 20 years ago, so it’s nice to actually win.”
After his round an emotional McKenzie thanked his wife and parents for their support throughout his career and also made special mention of his very good friend Ramsay McMaster who died suddenly a year ago.
After that tragedy, McKenzie said he did not feel like even going near a golf courser for a long time.
“Ramsay was one of my biggest supporters,” he said of his friend who was renowned as one of the world’s leading golf specific physiotherapists.
“He’d call at three in the morning just to give me a rev up and just to say to keep going in only a way that Ramsay knows how. It has and will take me a long time to get over it.”
At the presentation ceremony he added, “I wish he was here to see this..and hopefully he did.”
McKenzie’s final round got off to a bumpy start with a bogey at the opening hole and by the third another dropped shot had cut his overnight lead over Laycock and Matt Griffin to two.
But he composed himself quickly, rapping in four birdie putts from the fourth to the ninth and clung on to seize victory.
McKenzie plans to play the McMaster Memorial Golf Day at Victoria Golf Club on February 1.
He is then poised to tackle the Vic Open from February 21-24 where for the second year in a row the tournament will feature both men and women.
Already a number of marquee names have been confirmed, including Australian Masters champion Richard Green, New Zealand Women’s Open winner Kristie Smith and Spaniard Tania Elosegui.
The PGA Tour of Australasia now heads to Heritage Golf and Country Club for this week’s inaugural Lexus of Blackburn Heritage Classic.
By: Robert Grant