Newcastle’s Blake Windred has claimed his maiden professional crown with a one-shot win in the Victorian PGA Championship at Moonah Links late this afternoon.
The 24-year-old held his nerve in a titanic struggle against 2020/21 ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit Winner, Brad Kennedy, over the closing holes.
The pair couldn’t be split for much of the day, with the defining moment for Windred coming courtesy of dramatic chip-in eagle on the par-four 14th to vault to a two-shot lead.
Windred admitted post round he had begun to think of victory, knowing full-well it’s not a place he should have got to mentally.
“To be honest, I was thinking about it with three holes to go. I was thinking about ticking that off. I was trying to stay in the moment but it’s very hard not to think about such a big thing.”
Kennedy, ever the professional, wasn’t finished, and after the pair traded birdies on the 15th, an ill-timed bogey from Windred on the 386 metre 16th looked like he had left the door ajar for the Queensland veteran.
Inspired by the advice of his long-time mental coach, Johjn Novak, Windred remarked to his caddy and good mate Jack Poutney, he still felt it was still his time to shine.
“I said to my caddie Jack ‘what’s the worst that can happen? This is a dream come true. I’ve got a one shot lead, if you said earlier in the day that I had a one shot lead with a few holes to go, I’d definitely take it’,” he said.
The duo traded pars on the 17th, before Windred, no doubt still sensing his time was coming compounded the situation by finding a fairway bunker with his second shot on the last.
Destiny was still pointing at the Novocastrian, and when he spun his fourth to tap-in distance, and Kennedy couldn’t convert his final birdie chance, it was finally Windred’s time to enter the winners’ circle.
Finishing with scores of 71, 67, 69 and 69 – 12 under par, Windred earned a handy $24, 750 for his week’s work. Importantly, it also guarantees him playing rights on Tour until the end of the 22/23 season.
“I’m so pleased with not necessarily how I played, but how I got it done,” he said.
“It is one goal that I’ve had on my mirror for the last couple of years. I just haven’t been able to tick off the first professional win.
“In my career I want to be winning more of these trophies and just being in contention is the best feeling ever. It’s why I practise as hard as I do and make the sacrifices I do.
“It’s for that feeling of being in contention, under all the lights, and getting it done.”