Date: May 01, 2007
Author: Alistair Hogg

Flanagan claims maiden win

By Alistair Hogg Nick Flanagan has broken through to claim his maiden Nationwide Tour title winning the Henrico Country Open in Virginia on the third playoff hole. The 22-year carded a final round two-under 70 to finish level with Canadians Bryn Parry, Chris Baryla and American Roland Thatcher. Parry and Thatcher were ousted at the first and second extra holes respectively and all Flanagan had to do was sink a one-metre birdie putt on the third for his maiden Nationwide Tour Victory. Flanagan is playing his first season as a fully exempt professional and the win makes him the 50th international to triumph on the Nationwide Tour. “I&aposm very happy to perform well under pressure,” he said. “One of my goals this year was to win early. I&aposve come close a couple of times, but this was definitely my best opportunity. I think I always knew it was going to happen; it was just a matter of when. To do it in my second year on Tour is awesome.” Flanagan&aposs final round was a picture of consistency. The New South Welshman hit 11 of 14 fairways and required just 26 putts to book himself a berth in the playoff, and although his final putt was short, it was a huge relief to see it drop. “This is a great weight off my shoulders,” Flanagan said. “I&aposve never really put all that much pressure on myself to win but it&aposs something that I wanted to do really bad. Some through I turned pro too early, so this justifies that decision – hopefully there will be plenty more to come.” Flanagan turned professional in 2004 after becoming the first Australian in a century to win the prestigious US Amateur in 2003. He was also the second youngest person to win the title, an 18-year old Tiger Woods the only man to do it younger. However despite posting great numbers in his rookie season as a pro, Flanagan failed to break through for that elusive win, until now. The hefty winner&aposs cheque also elevates him to eighth position on the Nationwide Tour money list which has the Aussie eyeing off bigger and better things. “I&aposm just trying to get to the PGA Tour and I&aposve found that&aposs not an easy thing to do” Flanagan said. “But this definitely helps the cause. I&aposve been taking baby steps and the Nationwide Tour has helped me get my game to the level it needs to be to compete on the PGA Tour.” Fellow Australian Greg Chalmers finished just one stroke shy of joining his compatriot in the playoff. Australian results in the Henrico Open, Virginia Steven Bowditch (WD) Greg Chalmers -12 (T5) Steve Collins (MC) Jason Day (MC) Kim Felton (MC) Nick Flanagan -13 (1) Scott Gardiner -5 (T33) Bradley Hughes (MC) Matthew Jones (MC) David McKenzie (MC) Aron Price (MC) Richard Swift (MC)