Victorian Anthony Brown has finally broken through for victory on the PGA Tour of Australasia, taking out the NSW Open at the Stonecutter Ridge Golf Club near Sydney.
The 32-year-old defeated New Zealander Josh Geary on the second play-off hole after he powered home at the end of regulation play.
Brown's previous best finish was in 2012 when he finished runner-up to Daniel Popovic in the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum.
But his sudden burst of form has given him a serious boost in confidence ahead of the major Australian summer tournaments, starting with this week's Masters at Metropolitan.
Geary birdied the final hole to force the event into extra holes but early contender James Nitties, slumped to two over for his closing nine holes to miss a place in the play-off by one shot.
US Amateur Champion Gunn Yang finished alone in fourth position just two shots off the pace.
The final round was fought out in fierce, swirling winds at the Greg Norman-designed layout.
Brown said later his debut win was “just a relief."
“It will sink in later, I’m sure, but it’s a huge relief," he told News Corp. “I’ve had a second and a few thirds so it’s nice to get over the line.”
Brown said his game had improved since working with Melbourne coach Paul Buchanan who had simplified his strategy and taken away a lot of the anxiety he suffered from.
“I focus a lot more now on how I’m playing the course rather than standing there worrying about my golf swing and what’s happening from a technical perspective,’’ he said.
During the play-off both Gerry and Brown both birdied the 18th but the New Zealander could not match Brown at the next hole as he holed a two metre birdie putt for the win.
“I knew that if that wind came up, it wouldn’t take an unbelievable round to win, it would just take a good solid round,” Brown said. “I just stayed patient. I just thought to myself, I’ll just keep plodding along and hitting good shots.
“I made a good birdie on 10 and then things just seemed to flow a bit better from there.’’
For Nitties, the tournament was a disappointment for the second year in a row.
He was also the pacesetter last year before a neck injury forced him to withdraw.
“It was disappointing,’’ Nitties said. “I just didn’t judge the gusts well today. I felt like I played good enough to win but I left a lot of shots out there.’’
By: Robert Grant