Gold Coast’s Anthony Quayle twice had to drag himself up off the canvas to complete a two-stroke victory in an enthralling final day of the Queensland PGA Championship in Brisbane.
Boasting a six-stroke lead through 54-holes at Nudgee Golf Club, talk at the start of the day centred around whether Quayle might match Ossie Moore’s 10-stroke record winning margin from 1986 yet just five holes in it was tied at the top.
Quayle made a disastrous start when he double-bogeyed the opening hole and when Sydney’s Justin Warren made three birdies in succession from the second hole the margin was down to one.
The wheels might not have completely fallen off, but Quayle did have to take his shoes off when his approach to the par-5 5th came up short and in the hazard, the resulting bogey bringing him back level with Warren at 10-under.
In the blink of an eye his lead had vanished into thin air yet a brilliant 5-iron to the par-4 6th turned momentum back in Quayle’s favour, his birdie from close range and Warren’s double bogey after finding the hazard long of the green restoring a three-shot buffer.
The margin was back out to five by the turn after Warren made bogey at both 8 and 9 but just as Quayle settled again a new contender emerged.
RIGHT: Daniel Gale took second place after coming home with a wet sail on Sunday at Nudgee. PHOTO: PGA Tour of Australasia.
As Warren was landing bombs early on the front nine, rising star Louis Dobbelaar continued to stay in the fight and when he picked up birdies at 12 and 13 the margin was again back to two.
But Dobbelaar’s charge also ran out of steam, a three-putt from close range at 15 handing Quayle a three-shot buffer with three holes to play.
The nearest threat would ultimately come from Daniel Gale (66) in the group ahead but when Quayle safely navigated the treacherous tee shot at the par-3 18th the 2021 Queensland PGA Championship was finally secured, good friend Jake McLeod storming the 18th green to celebrate with a bottle of champagne.
“It was more stressful than I thought it would be but it was a lot of fun,” Quayle conceded after a roller-coaster closing 73.
“I was a little bit surprised my lead had gone that quickly.
“I got off to a terrible start and Justin was pushing really hard. He didn’t miss a shot for the first five holes and then I hit a 5-iron from 180 metres to two feet (at six) and that settled me down a little bit.
“From that point on it calmed me down a lot. I hit a few more shots that came out more how I was trying to hit them and that I had more control of my ball.
“I hit a really good shot into 8 and holed a nice putt and after that I was pretty settled for most of the day.”
Tied for sixth at the Australian PGA Championship seven days earlier, Quayle is now fourth on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
Following an arduous campaign on the Japan Golf Tour in 2021 the 27-year-old didn’t touch a club between November and the new year and then contracted COVID-19 in the week prior to the PGA Championship, his two-week run a positive start to 2022 after a difficult year last year.
“The past two weeks have definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s been really nice,” said Quayle, who receives $36,000 in prize money for his second PGA Tour of Australasia title to go with his 2020 Queensland Open champion.
“Last year was a pretty difficult year for me on the golf course and also personally it was a pretty difficult year off the golf course.
“To start the year like this and to get a win ... A little bit of validation that I can still compete and play well and do some pretty cool stuff is nice.”
Dobbelaar (71) finished third for the second straight week to cement his place inside the top three on the Order of Merit with Warren (73) and Josh Armstrong (70) rounding out the top five.