The Victorian Open has been bolstered by the inclusion of the winners of the past two Australian PGA tournaments.
Victorian David Bransdon took out the inaugural Heritage Classic a week after another local, David McKenzie, snapped up the Victorian PGA Championship at Forest Resort Creswick.
Bransdon won with a birdie at the first play-off hole after he finished tied on 14 under the card with South Australian Max McCardle and 17-year-old amateur Lucas Herbert.
He had been headed for victory on the final day before his concentration went missing at the turn, allowing his closest pursuers to add pressure.
“I played really good early to set myself up in a good position," Bransdon said.
"I had a nice putt on the first and really good iron shots for the next seven holes.
“But I made a bit of a mental error on nine and that sort of brought me back to the boys a bit.”
Despite failing to clinch the tournament in regulation figures, Bransdon took an aggressive approach at the play-off, switching his attitude.
“I was actually more relaxed in the playoff than I was in regulation playing the 18th – it was just a bizarre thing,” he said.
“I thought I had put myself in a good position to win so I just went out and hit the shots.
“I had hit good shots all day so I just trusted what I was doing and pulled it off.”
The leader of the event, at the Heritage Golf and Country Club, heading into the weekend, Bransdon said he was delighted at sealing the win despite his final round stutter.
“I am pretty happy right now, obviously it has been eluded to that it’s been a long career and so it’s nice to win again,” said Bransdon who has competed on the PGA Tour of Australasia since 1995.
“Heading into the last round, I wasn’t confident that I could win because I can’t control what anyone else does, but I was confident in my abilities and that I could stay in contention by playing well.
“I have been doing that the last couple of days and so it’s just nice to have pulled it off with some self belief.”
The victory was the 39-year-old’s third tournament win on his home Tour following his success in the 1993 Tasmanian Open and 2010 Western Australian PGA Championship.
Finishing a shot out of the playoff on 13-under the card was New Zealand’s Michael Hendry.
Rounding out the top five on the leaderboard were New South Welshman Matthew Giles and Victorian amateur Nathan Holman with a score of 10-under 278.
The Vic Open will be staged at Thirteenth Beach from February 21-24.
By: Robert Grant