Bautista drills as Dodt gets European card

The tournament leader since his course record of 10-under 61 in Friday’s second round, Bautista’s final round of two-under 69 saw him equal the 72-hole tournament record of 20-under par set by Brett Rankin in 2019 but set a new benchmark in tournament dominance in the NT.

A clear six early in the final round, the 25-year-old took an eight-stroke lead with two opening birdies, but back-to-back bogeys on holes 3 and 4 and a surging Ben Wharton squeezed the margin . at four at the start of the back nine.

But that’s as close as the chase pack would get, with Bautista’s salami-fueled birdie at 15 and other birdies at 16 and 17 capping off an impressive maiden win on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.

Already boasting three top-three finishes this season, the winner’s check for $27,000 propels Bautista into the top 10 of the Final Order of Merit that will open the doors to qualifying schools on major world tours later in the season. ‘year.

Andrew Dodt took third place in the Order of Merit and claimed a DP World Tour card. PHOTO: Andy Cheung/Getty Images.

But first, collect golf’s most unique trophy.

“It’s my first major win so I’m thrilled to get this one and I’ll remember this croc forever,” Bautista said.

“When I saw that putt come in on the 15th, the gates opened, then I made another, then another.

“I’m really happy to have gotten the win and I’m looking forward to the future and getting even more.”

Spend nights during the week watching episodes of Office Along with roommates Jeremy Fuchs and Linus Yip, Bautista admitted defending a lead was a tough mindset to adopt.

When he birdied in impressive fashion on the first two holes – burning the edge with his eagle putt at the par-5 2nd – he looked set to blast the field in windy conditions.

But he and defending champion Aaron Pike both struggled on the front nine and it took until he birdied the par-4 15th to put the outcome of the tournament beyond doubt.

” I am delighted. Today was hands down the toughest round of the past three, simply because I didn’t putt for what felt like 13 holes. When I did one out of 15, that one felt really good,” he said.

“It’s my first major win so I’m thrilled to get this one and I’ll remember this croc forever.” -Austin Bautista.

“It’s hard because you just want to go out there and shoot your lowest score, but you’re like, I’m six-up, I’m five-up, now I’m six-up. You don’t want to thinking like that, but unfortunately it crosses your mind because you just want to reach the finish line.

“I know I could do it. I played great golf this year, just played my own game and was very consistent.

“I have a lot of exciting months and years ahead where I want to get more wins.”

Third in this event six years ago, Hart’s closing score of four under 67 was bettered by just two players on Sunday as he and Wharton finished at 13 under par.

A prolific winner of pro-am tournaments but still chasing his first 72-hole title, Hart hopes his latest round of five birdies and a bogey is a sign of better things to come next season.

“To shoot a score on a Sunday with just one bogey, even with the way I hit it, and to know that I can jam that well, it’s very, very good for me personally and mentally too, to know that I can do it and hold on under the pressure,” Hart said.

“When you have that many shots back you can go a lot further, hit a lot more drivers and try to be aggressive. I gave myself a few birdie looks but just didn’t capitalize on the nines. last.”

Playing in the final group, Wharton was the player who threw Bautista the mantle early on.

He matched Bautista’s birdies on the first two holes, then rolled in a 25-foot putt for a birdie at the par-3 7th.

From then on, however, it was nothing more than pars as Bautista stabilized and cleared.

“It was kind of a good thing to have him so far ahead and have something to chase,” Wharton said.

“Getting off to a good start was good and I got a little defensive along the way and the putter got a little cold.

“I’m happy with the way I played. I hit a lot of shots where I wanted to hit them, but Austin played amazing.”

Defending champion Aaron Pike (71) started the final round as Bautista’s closest challenger, but a streak of three straight bogeys from the sixth hole effectively crippled his chances of winning again.

With significant Order of Merit implications, he played the last nine in less than two, including a game-winning putt for a birdie on the last hole that saw him trap squarely fourth and lift him to fifth in the game. the Order of Merit, earning an exemption for Korn Ferry Tour. qualifying school at the end of the year.

The battle for the third and final DP World Tour card also went to the wire, with Andrew Dodt retaining third place, shooting one of 72 on Sunday to finish two strokes ahead of Dimi Papadatos.

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