Peter O’Malley has claimed the 2010 NSW Open hosted by Nathan Green following a tense three-way playoff with South Australian Peter Cooke and British Amateur Tom Lewis. O’Malley, a Lakes Golf Club member, now heads for the Australian Open.
The win for O’Malley is his first PGA Tour of Australasia title in five years, his last win coming at the 2005 NZ PGA Championship where he similarly claimed the trophy following a playoff with Steven Bowditch.
Out in the final group of the day O’Malley took a few holes to warm up, before rediscovering his groove at The Vintage with three consecutive birdies on holes 4, 5 and 6.
But it wasn’t all going O’Malley’s way- a triple bogey on the 11th brought him right back to the pack where the big mover on the front nine, British amateur Tom Lewis, was waiting.
The 19 year old British Open Squad member and Eisenhower Cup representative had holed five birdies in the first seven holes, but stumbled on the eighth with a double bogey.
In a tension-filled back nine, the lead see-sawed between O’Malley, new course record holder Cooke and Lewis, resulting in a three-way tie for first at the end of the seventy-two holes.
The trio headed back to the start of the par four 388m 18th to determine the winner in a sudden death playoff.
After playing the 18th hole twice more Cooke was the first to stumble, leaving O’Malley and Lewis to fight it out for the third time on the 18th.
While O’Malley landed his second shot 5½ metres slightly uphill from the pin on the green, Lewis hit his second fairway shot into a bunker alongside the green.
Lewis extricated himself from the bunker but two-putted to hand the championship to O’Malley much to the delight of the gallery who cheered home one of Australia’s most successful professionals.
“I made more hard work out of it than I anticipated but I played pretty good golf all week….I wanted to have the feeling (of winning) to help get me in contention next week,” said O’Malley.
“I’ve been looking forward to the Australian Open for a while, I’m a member there (at The Lakes) so it should be a great week for me.”
“I’m really looking forward to the next two weeks and it’s great to be going in with a bit of form.”