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Ageless Michael Long wins 2nd WAPGA title

Long wins 2nd WAPGA ten years after his first. (Photo: Australian PGA)
49 year old New Zealander, Michael Long, has recorded a ‘dream’ victory at the TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship after equalling the course record (64) at the Kalgoorlie Golf Course in Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Starting the final day five shots behind round three leader Brody Martin, Long dreamed of going low to snatch the win.

“I woke up this morning thinking that if I got it to 15-under, I was just dreaming, but that would probably be enough. It would mean that Brody would have to shoot 68 to tie me,” said Long.

“But I really didn’t go out there with the intention of shooting a 64 let alone a 63. I just wanted to have a nice round.”

Opening with three birdies, Long experienced a special day on the golf course where everything went his way, his irons were dialled in and his putter hot.

“It was just going straight at the pin, I would aim five feet left or right of the pin and it would go there or I would just pull it onto the pin. It just seemed to have perfect distance control,” added Long.

“The putting was good, it just seemed that whenever I had a 10 footer I holed it, I was just putting a really good stroke on it. I didn’t miss too many out there, you can’t when you have 10 birdies.

“I had Matt Millar and Neven Basic stay with me last week and I must have been acting like a real child because they came out on the putting green and had a look at my putting.

“So I have to thank Matt and Neven for straightening me out probably mentally more than anything else on the putting green.”

Firing 8-under 64 in the final round, Long equalled the course record first set by amateur Min Woo Lee in 2015 and equalled by a further three players in between.

In the clubhouse at 14-under 274, the Kiwi, who calls Perth home, had a nervous wait to see if 23-year-old Brody Martin could birdie his final hole to force a playoff.

“When Martin was unable to make his much-needed birdie, Long officially claimed his second TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship title and fifth on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.

“To win this title twice is pretty special, it’s the first time I have ever won a tournament twice so it is pretty neat,” added Long, who won the title in 2008 when it was played at The Cut.

“It’s an important win for Long with the winner’s exemption he earned thanks to his 2016 Oates Vic Open victory expiring at the end of this season.

“It just seems so long ago (the Oates Vic Open win) and I was getting antsy and mad at myself,” added Long, who is now fully exempt until the end of the 2019 season.

“Not only is there pride from the win, but I didn’t have a very good start to the season, I missed the cut at the Oates Vic Open the tournament that I really like playing and then Perth and all of a sudden I was behind the eight ball.

Brody Martin finished runner-up on 13-under the card, while his final round playing partner and reigning Oates Vic Open Champion Simon Hawkes finished third on 12-under the card.

Two shots further back was Jake Higginbottom while Cameron John and Jarryd Felton rounded out the top-5 on 9-under the card.

RULES: PENALTY AREAS

 

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