A remarkable back-nine resurgence has seen Darren Beck win the 2019 TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship.
Beck arrested a disastrous opening that had him three over the card by the 5th hole at Kalgoorlie Golf Course.
But six birdies on the back-nine, including three in a row from holes 16 to 18, helped the 41-year-old secure his first ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia victory since 2008.
“It feels great. It was a little nerve-wracking five or six holes in,” Beck said.
“There was a big change in scores. I birdied the 12th (hole) and Felts (Jarryd Felton) bogied so it quickly turned round. I thought I was playing for second for a while there.
“It just feels good to keep it together and finish the way I did. The putter was just unbelievable so I can’t explain how good that felt.”
Beck experienced a radical transformation on the back nine. After scoring a front-nine 39 – three-over par – the New South Welshman came to life with a remarkable six-under 30 on the final nine holes.
He finished the day three-under the card with rounds of 68, 67, 68 and 69 for a tournament total of 272 – two shots clear of second-placed Jarryd Felton.
“I think it was hard early in the round because we couldn’t see any leaderboards and it’s hard to know what’s going on. You don’t know whether guys have come up from behind and shot a good score,” he said.
“I had to ask a couple of people what the scores were just to make sure and then I could just play my own game without trying to push it.
“On the last, I didn’t want to push too much once I got to a two-shot lead. I just played a three-shotter to try and make a birdie. It’s a great feeling.”
The two-horse race between Beck and Felton was enthralling. Felton returned to the lead early on the front-nine and dashed out to a three-shot lead at the turn.
But Beck seized on Felton’s bogies on the 12th and 13th to win his first major crown since the 2009 Brunei Open on the Asian Tour.
Felton said he was pleased with his 14-under performance despite feeling he let an opportunity slip.
“It feels good and you’d take second place at the start of the week but I don’t know how many in front I got there at one point,” Felton said.
“I felt like I had a pretty decent lead but I think Darren had about eight putts on the final nine holes and there’s nothing I could do about that.
“He finished with six under for that nine and I shot square but the end result is what it is.
“It shows that my game’s not too far away. It would have been good to get a win but you can do it on these and hopefully get a win at the end of the year.”
Beck and Felton will now go on to play next week’s WA Open at Cottesloe Golf Club on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series before competing again on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia at the 2019 Victorian PGA Championship.
The win sees Beck receive World Golf Ranking Points and full exemption on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of 2020.
Former PGA Tour player Michael Sim secured third place thanks to a final round of 67 and a tournament total of 12-under.
Young-gun Robert Hogan finished fourth at 11-under to secure his best-ever professional result, while Blake Proverbs’ fourth-round 66 shot him into the top five at 10-under.