Date: March 21, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Hart aches after 58 tilt comes up short

The trophy will say David Klein; the story’s all Tim Hart.

The Queensland PGA Championship was won by German-born New Zealander Klein after a one-hole playoff at Toowoomba’s City Golf Club yesterday.

But the drama of the 18th hole won’t soon be forgotten by those who witnessed Hart’s almost surreal afternoon after he came from 20th and seven shots off the pace of Bendigo’s Kris Mueck, who ended in a three-way tie for third.

The power-hitting Hart, 26, started in relatively sedate fashion with a three-under par 30 on the outward nine of the par-70 course.

But that’s when all the fun began.

A run of eagle-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par-birdie-birdie suddenly had the big Gold Coaster needing a par on the last for a 12-under-par 58.

Little did he know, he also had a three-shot buffer on the field as he stood with history in his sights and with driver in hand on the short par four.

His tee shot screamed out of bounds left.

He reloaded and blocked it right into the trees and, by the time he’d racked up a triple-bogey, he’d signed for “only” a 61.

“It was a rollercoaster … after hitting the driver so well I put the worst swing of the week on it right there,” Hart said.

“It’s easy to be disappointed, but if someone had said I’d be in a playoff for the title when starting the day 20th I would have grabbed it.

“Even on the 18th tee, I wasn’t trying to think too much about breaking 60. I just wanted to stay aggressive because I hadn’t seen a leaderboard and wanted to keep pushing.

“If I’d known I was three or four shots in front maybe the 2-iron comes out.”

Hart (69-67-68-61) has been extremely successful on the pro-am circuit, particularly in Queensland, over the past 18 months with wins from Middlemount to Gympie and Redland Bay to Lismore.

He crunched his drive to such an extent on the 439m 10th, that he had just a 115m wedge to close range to set up eagle while he chipped in from 40m out on the 12th for another.

But in the end, it wasn’t enough to match the steady Klein (66-67-67-65) whose six birdies were also impressive.

He took the confidence of five wins from his six previous career playoffs into the first extra hole which he iced with a solid drive, neat nine iron and the final 4m birdie putt.

“When Tim put his drive into the trees on the playoff hole I knew I had to find the fairway and I was solid from there,” Klein said.

But Hart, to his credit, remained upbeat.

"I'm a bit disappointed after the last hole, I really played well all day to get myself in that position. I didn't know the standings on the leaderboard which probably helped, but that's no excuse,” he said.

"I played nicely all day and I was happy that I got myself in that position and I'll learn from that.

"This is where you want to be, you want to be contending (in) four-round tournaments and I've been playing pretty well. I had a good year last year in the pro-ams and a good couple of tournaments to start this year so I'm just building on that."