Five years after racking his clubs, Ewan Porter has jumped back into the winner’s circle at the 2018 Meriton Sydney Invitational alongside Daniel Gale and former Ladies European Tour winner Nikki Barrett.
The annual pro-am event took place over three days at NSW, Bonnie Doon and The Lakes golf clubs – which combined to welcome 48 PGA and ALPG professionals together with 117 amateurs.
Sydney-born Porter, who abandoned life as a touring professional to pursue a career in sports media, fought hammer and tongs to separate himself from the pack and eventually managed to break free of second place by seven shots.
“When you’re in contention to win a tournament, I don’t think you ever truly forget how to do it,” he said. “All those fond memories you have from those situations come flooding back.”
But Porter wasn’t alone at the top.
Joining him was 21-year-old up-and-comer Daniel Gale, who performed equally well to share the victory in what was just his second start as a professional.
“Winning is always a great feeling,” said the New South Welshman, who slept on a one-shot lead heading into the final round.
“Being only my second start as a professional definitely builds the confidence knowing I can compete quite easily with these guys.
“To be seven shots ahead of third, that's an even bigger booster, knowing if I play well I can sort of separate myself from the field.”
The 35-year-old Porter, who won twice in the US on the second-tier Web.com Tour, admitted he was stubborn during his touring days and said he has no regrets about his change of career.
“I always say to people that I would do things differently if I had my time again,” Porter said. “But at the same time I don’t truly regret anything because it’s led me to where I am now and I wouldn’t have the things coming my way in the media.
“When I turned pro at 19 I had all my eggs in one basket and naively, stubbornly, I thought it was the only career I would ever have.
“Whilst I don’t harbour any aspirations to ever play on Tour again, it’s still nice to dabble in the odd tournament and have a few different irons in the fire.
“It really helps me with my broadcasting career because I make a point of introducing myself to various players and learning a bit about everyone. And that definitely comes across when I’m broadcasting – and I’ve had that feedback from a lot of players, that they enjoy the fact that I know the intricate details them.”
Porter was full of praise for the tournament – which once again raised and donated $50,000 to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead – suggesting it has the potential to become a Tour event.
“I would love to see the tournament go from strength-to-strength,” he said. “It’s probably the only event that comes close to replicating a Pebble Beach or a Dunhill, and it would be great if somehow it was elevated to a Tour status and I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t.”
Nikki Barrett, who won twice on the LET in 2007, echoed Porter’s sentiments after winning the women’s event by one shot.
“I love the event,” Barrett said. “I love the fact it is stableford points as well. Being pretty much retired and a weekend warrior now, the format suits me to a tee but it still brought some nerves out.
“My playing partners were awesome as well, so I can’t fault anything about the Meriton. I mean, we played NSW, Bonnie Doon and The Lakes in a stableford event … What’s not to love?”
For more details about the Meriton Sydney Invitational, visit the tournament website.