James Nitties has prevailed as the 2011 Cellarbrations Victorian PGA Champion after a tough day fighting it out with Peter O’Malley at the Sandhurst Club south-east of Melbourne.
Nitties finished the 54 hole tournament at 18-under par one ahead of O’Malley at 17-under who played what Nitties described as ‘epic’ golf.
Third place was claimed by Andrew Buckle at 13-under par.
With a final round of three-under par, Nitties battled with O’Malley for much of the day with the lead changing on several occasions.
Playing alongside Nitties in the final group O’Malley, who had a final round of 4-under par, led for most of the afternoon and looked good for the title until Nitties birdied the 17th.
But it wasn’t until O’Malley’s second shot to the 18th missed the green to the right that the win looked a certainty for the Novocastrian.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever played with Pom and everyone says he’s a horrendous putter but he was great- he putted great and he really ball strikes it,” said Nitties of his playing partner O’Malley who throughout the tournament carded only one bogey.
“It was getting to the end of the second round where I didn’t even need to watch where his tee shots went because he did not miss a fairway in days.”
“This is a great win and a great field – it’s the best Vic PGA field I’ve ever played in.”
“It’s good to come home and play well. I mean to do well in any event is good, but at home its even better.”
With the win under his belt Nitties will next week head back to the US where he will try his luck in Monday qualifiers for the US PGA Tour.
“Obviously it wasn’t the year I wanted last year, but I know its in me,” he said.
“A lot of people came up to me at the end of last year and told me ‘bad luck’ and that’s not it at all. It was all me and I just didn’t get it done. So to produce here is such a good feeling.”
“I need to prove myself to myself so this is just one step in getting closer to that.”
As for O’Malley, he says he is now looking forward to next week’s world-first strokeplay/ matchplay hybrid tournament at The Sands Torquay where he feels he can build on his performance from this week.
“(James and I) had a great time, we played the last two rounds together and we had a lot of fun.”
“And now its down to the new tournament next week, the Surf Coast knockout, so I’m really looking forward to that now. There were some really good, positive things there from me for next week.”