It has to be the best name in Australian golf and Elvis Smilie nearly capped off a great week in his rookie year with a win, albeit for a stumble at the penultimate hole. However it was Victorian Bryden Macpherson who won the mental battle at Concord today, capping his consistent summer with his second Australasian PGA title by winning the Golf Challenge NSW Open.
The Victorian held back all-comers for a title he compared in status and importance to his British Amateur Championship win back in 2011, and the biggest cheque of his career.
Macpherson was a study of patience throughout the tense final day as challenger after challenger threatened to break away. When Macpherson bogeyed the par-five 11th he reminded himself that his opportunities would come. His opponent, South Australian Jack Thompson responded almost immediately with back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13. And moments later when Macpherson sunk a long-range bomb for eagle on the 13th the momentum shifted.
"I honestly thought my chance was on 12 when I had a 12-footer for a little two-shot swing, but luckily I got another chance on 13 and I took advantage," the 30-year-old said.
"I hadn't really holed any long ones all week and I kept saying to myself that I'm due to hole one soon. It looked good the whole way.
"I didn't seem to be reading putts very well. The best thing I could do was just stick in there and get lucky and some of the other guys will get nervous."
Rookie Elvis Smylie's charge ended on 17, when he was just a shot back, with a drive that landed between tree roots forcing him to take relief and a double-bogey. He won thousands of new fans this week and will win a lot more if he can fine tune his putter, with four three-putts over the weekend ultimately proving the difference.
Fan favourites Nathan Barbieri and Michael Sim showed glimpses of their brilliance throughout the week but just spun their tyres on this final day. Sim showed he still has the game to compete on any tour, and Barbieri found himself in trouble too often on the tight tree-lined fairways.
Still, the future looks great as far as Macpherson is concerned.
"All of these young kids, they are really good players," he said, graciously.
"I'm excited to see what they do, and I hope they can stick to what they're doing and get better at competing. There's nothing wrong with Nathan and Jack's game. I was impressed."
-18 Bryden Macpherson
-15 Elvis Smylie
-14 Jack Thompson
-14 Michael Sim
-14 Dale S Williamson
-13 Blake Windred
-12 Jordan Zunic
-12 Matthew Millar
-12 Cameron John
-12 Brad Kennedy
-12 Tim Hart
-12 Anthony Choat
-12 Jarrod Stirling
-12 Nathan Barbieri