A tee shot marginally off-line provided Jarryd Felton with the slice of good fortune to win TPS Sydney in a playoff after rain forced the tournament to be reduced to 54 holes on Sunday.
Bonnie Doon Golf Club received 512mm of rain from Tuesday night yet held up until Sunday afternoon when a second delay due to heavy showers made it impossible to complete the final round.
It was not the course but time constraints that convinced PGA Tour of Australasia officials to abandon the final round at 3.30pm, the leading groups only through three holes when the decision was made.
Tied with Brendan Jones at 15-under at the start of the day, Felton battled away manfully to establish a two-stroke lead in horrendous conditions but was suddenly thrust into a playoff when scores reverted to the three-round totals.
After Jones split the fairway at the par-4 18th hole with his tee shot, Felton followed up with a drive that crept into the left rough.
It was not intentional but given the position of the flag on the top tier in the back-left portion of the 18th green it gave the 26-year-old the opportunity to take some spin off his approach and leave a birdie putt 15 feet below the hole.
Jones subsequently hit his wedge inside Felton’s to the back edge of the green but missed his birdie try to hand Felton a fourth ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia title.
“When I hit it in the rough I kind of thought to myself, That’s probably a good result,” said Felton.
“Jonesy hit that wedge in there and had to kind of fly it to the back edge and it didn’t come back as far as what he would have thought.
“It was definitely an advantage hitting it in the rough… accidentally.”
Felton’s partner Hannah Green received worldwide attention for her TPS Murray River victory a fortnight ago yet for Felton such a win represents a re-emergence following a difficult period in his career.
Winner of the 2020 WA PGA Championship at Kalgoorlie, Felton endured two weeks of soul searching in hotel quarantine last year before seeking assistance to get back to a place mentally where he could find happiness on the golf course again.
“I sat in hotel quarantine in Perth, two weeks in there will make you think about a lot of things,” Felton admitted, who has recently begun working with mental coach Sean Lynch.
“I touched base with a good friend of mine, Jamie Glazier, and he helped me out for a little bit there.
“Coming out of hotel quarantine I was really motivated and driven to get better, there was just nothing to play.
“Now that we’ve got tournaments to play I’m more motivated to get better.
“I’ve got a lot of good things going, I’ve just got to stick the path and just keep trying to get better each day.
“That’s what myself and Sean are working at and it happened to happen really quick this week.”
While the majority of the field welcomed the reprieve from the rain there were some hard-luck stories with Peter Cooke, Jordan Zunic and Tim Hart all shooting rounds of four-under 67 in the morning wave, scores that would become null and void.
The abandonment of the fourth round also impacted the TPS Junior Players Series Sydney with the 36-hole tournament decided by Saturday’s opening round.
Newcastle’s Jake Riley was declared the winner following his brilliant round of five-under 66 on Saturday, the highlight of which was a lasered 5-iron to set up eagle at the par-5 14th hole.
The Webex Players Series now moves to Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort for the inaugural TPS Hunter Valley presented by Jan Stephenson and Peter O’Malley starting on Thursday.