Sunday, November 27, 2011


Greg Chalmers has gone back-to-back, overcoming four-time winner Robert Allenby and Marcus Fraser in a play-off today to add the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum to his recent Australian Open win.
The 38-year-old, who took the Stonehaven Cup for a second time a fortnight ago when he prevailed at The Lakes by a shot, may now head to the Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne next month for the Australian Masters with the chance to match Allenby's 2005 heroics when he became the first player to win all three events in the same year.
After they finished at 12 under and then had to wait more than 30 minutes while the final groups completed their rounds, it was Chalmers who showed the most composure at the 18th when he safely found the fairway with his tee shot and then two-putted for par to take the Joe Kirkwood Cup.
"I was surprised that par was good enough, I thought we were going to have to birdie this hole but that's how it goes sometimes in play-offs," Chalmers said.
"I felt fine on the tee shot but the putt was the hardest thing."
"This Australian PGA Championship has such a rich history and to have won it now, coupled with the Australian Open, I'm over the moon."
Fraser dunked his tee shot in the water and eventually settled for a bogey after failing to chip in from the greenside bunker while Allenby went way right with his first shot, found the heart of the green with his third and then had to hole a four-metre putt to stay in the hunt but couldn't do so.
On a final day when fortunes fluctuated wildly and overnight leader KT Kim, Matthew Giles and Aaron Baddeley all also spent time on top of the leaderboard, Chalmers finished superbly en route to a 67 and top billing.
But firstly Allenby rolled in an eight-metre birdie putt at the last for a 68 to ensure sudden death would be needed and then Fraser went even better by holing a monster 15-metre effort for a 69 and a place in the playoff.
Kim led by four shots after starting with four pars, with his playing partner Bubba Watson's erratic double bogey, bogey start dropping him down the leaderboard and Baddeley also making an early bogey.
But when Kim had two unplayable lies at the 5th and went on to make double bogey, he suddenly found himself level with Giles and Baddeley, with the latter eventually drawing two clear as firstly Giles and then Kim both fell away.
There was still another twist to come though as Baddeley faltered with a bogey at 12 and was joined at 11 under by Chalmers and then Allenby, and with Baddeley then following the lead of Kim in dropping out of contention.
Chalmers, who also won the 1997 Australasian Players Championship and boasts two Nationwide Tour wins, was steady rather than spectacular throughout the week, apart from, of course, the hole in one he produced on the opening day.
But having gone out in 35 with two birdies and a bogey on Sunday, spectacular he was after the turn as he picked up further shots at 10, 12, 16 and 17 to capitalise on faltering rivals.
But he didn't have to wait long to discover the title would not be his in regulation, with Allenby overcoming two bogeys on the front nine to collect three birdies coming home, before Fraser shrugged off bogeys at the 1st and 11th to make three critical birdies of his own in his last eight holes.
Pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott closed with a 68 to finish at 10 under, left to rue his wayward opening nine holes on Thursday, when he slumped to five over before recovering to a 70, and a Saturday back nine on which he dropped two shots.
Baddeley, who had vaulted to the top by holing his approach to 7th for an eagle, eventually carded a 72 to join Scott in fourth place at 10 under.
Nick O'Hern, who won the old Coolum Classic in 1998 before taking the PGA here as well in 2006, signed for a 67 to finish at nine under along with Marc Leishman (69) and Kim (76), while Jason Day (70), John Senden (71) and Y E Yang (73) shared ninth at minus eight.
Brad Kennedy's 69 left him level in 12th with Watson (77) at seven under, one shot ahead of American Rickie Fowler (70), Kurt Barnes (72), Rod Pampling (73), Giles (74) and David Bransdon (75).
Andre Stolz (69), Anthony Summers (71), Joon-woo Choi (72) and Stuart Appleby (73) rounded out the top 20 at five under while veteran Greg Norman had to be content with a 74 at minus four, along with Aron Price (68), Stephen Leaney (68) and Kieran Pratt (72).





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