Golf

Gale breaks through for maiden win

Daniel Gale
Daniel Gale shows off the PNG Open trophy. Picture: PGA of Australia

Impressive New South Welshman Daniel Gale has won his first ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia title, running away with the PNG Open title in Port Moresby.

Starting with a three-shot buffer at 17 under after his third-round 61, Gale flew home with a round of six-under-par 66 to finish at 23 under for a dominant nine-shot victory.

He also becomes the first player to win the Morobe Open on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series and PNG Open in successive weeks since Michael Wright in 2009.

“I felt a bit shaky to start off with, last week I felt like I was in control because I had to chase down Damien (Jordan),” Gale said.

“A three-shot lead can change in one hole and I think my lead got down to one at a point on the front nine, but I went on a roll on the back nine and had four birdies on the trot and that separated me.

“The last two holes were a lot of fun; I had a seven-shot lead with two holes to go and could just enjoy the walk.”

Gale’s work on his short game was evident in an impressive chip-in for his fourth birdie in a row on the 16th.

“I’ve been doing a lot of work on those simple chip shots with my coach Paul Latham and the hard work is paying off,” Gale said.

“My short game is getting sharper and sharper and my putting average is getting lower and lower. That’s obviously showed in the last two weeks.”

For winning the PNG Open, Gale earns full status on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and will tee it up in marquee events on the schedule.

“It hasn’t fully sunk in yet, to know that I’m playing Fiji, Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship, I can’t wait,” he said.

“I’ll be able to get my buddies in the crowd, it feels awesome. It was one of my goals this year to get a Tour win; last week was great but this being a Tour win is pretty special, I think that’s why I had a few more nerves just knowing what was on the line.

“I’ve ticked that off the list and the hard work is all paying off. To shoot a personal best of 22 under last week and beat that with 23 under this week is just insane; it’s the kind of stuff you dream about.”

Next up for the affable Sydneysider is a trip over the Pacific for a US Open qualifier and to try to pre-qualify for a handful of Web.com Tour events.

He said the security of status on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia will ease a little pressure as he aims to compete at the highest level.

“America’s my main focus, so I’m going to try and get in to the US Open and if I get in there and play well that obviously opens more doors,” he said.

Finishing in a tie for second were Tim Stewart, also of NSW, and WA’s Braden Becker at 14 under the card. Dale Brandt-Richards, Chris Wood and Aaron Pike rounded out the top five at 11 under.

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