Luke – who lost part of his right leg to bone cancer when he was 15 years old – held a one-shot advantage entering the final round and withstood a late charge from three-time champion Geoff Nicholas of The Lakes Golf Club to eventually prevail by three shots.
“I love playing with all the other competitors, the other amputees, we have a very enjoyable time and to have another win, that’s awesome,” said Luke, who has now won four consecutive Australian Amputee Opens.
The 45-year-old fired rounds of 76, 78 and 77 to finish the 54-hole national championship at 18-over, ahead of Nicholas and another three-time winner, Long Reef Golf Club’s Stephen Prior, who was six shots behind Nicholas.
Luke led by four shots with three holes to play but his advantage was trimmed to just two after he three-putted the par-four 16th for a double bogey and then made a par against Nicholas’ birdie at the par-4 17th.
“I got a bit tight in the finish, I had Geoff Nicholas on my back all day.
“I tightened up on the 16th a little.”
“I just stayed focused, I knew what I had to do was just put it up on the fairway and on the green in regulation and stayed focused and did what I was supposed to do.”
Shane Luke hits his tee shot on Bankstown's 17th hole during today's final round.
Luke’s drive at the par-four 18th trickled into the first cut of rough, from where he fired a five-iron from 160 metres into the wind and safely onto the final green.
With Nicholas in trouble in the left trees off the tee, Luke could comfortably afford two putts from close to 50 feet for victory, adding to his previous Australian Amputee Open wins in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016 and last year.
Luke’s victory came despite spending the past six months dealing with an inflamed right shoulder, admitting he’s lost significant power from the tee as a result.
“I’ve been really fortunate to be able to even attend this year. I only started hitting balls a couple of weeks [ago] leading into the event, I didn’t think I was going to make it, so I was just happy to even participate and then to win on top of it is just great.”
A venue hasn’t been set for the 2019 Ottobock Australian Amputee Open but Luke insists he will be there to vie for a 10th title.
“Definitely, I wouldn’t miss these events for the world.”
SHANE LUKE WINS 9TH NATIONAL AMPUTEE TITLE
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