South Korean Min A Yoon has become the second woman to win a Webex Players Series event with an eight-under final round 63 to secure the TPS Victoria title at Rosebud Country Club by a shot.
Yoon has joined the elite company of Hannah Green (TPS Murray River last year) and Linn Grant (the DP World Tour’s Scandinavian Mixed event last year) as the only women to triumph in a 72-hole professional mixed-gender tournament.
The 20-year-old, who celebrated her birthday during the week, started Sunday’s final round five shots back from 18-hole, 36-hole and 54-hole leader James Marchesani and she kicked off her assault with a steady front nine 33.
The Epson Tour player was in the mix for the first half of the day, but the spotlight was shining on her male rivals with hometown hero Marchesani, fellow 20-year-old Elvis Smylie, Victorian David Micheluzzi and New South Welshman Nathan Barbieri tussling for top position.
After the turn Yoon found another gear and once she got going she could not be stopped.
A birdie at the 10th began her charge before a four-hole blitz from the 13th to the 16th turned the tournament on its head.
A trio of birdies pushed her into a share of the lead and the defining moment of the tournament arrived when she holed-out for eagle from the greenside bunker at the par-5 16th to jump out to a two-shot lead.
“She tried to keep her swing balanced and then tried to make a two-putt par (on the par-3s and par-4s). Then at the par-5 she tried to make an eagle or a birdie. That was the point to win,” her father Jin said while translating for her.
“First of all she tried to escape the bunker. Fortunately it was near the pin, it went in and she made the eagle.”
That effort was Yoon’s fourth eagle of the week – she made one in every round including her first round hole-in-one at the par-3 13th – and she parred the two closing holes to secure victory at 24-under with rounds of 67, 66, 64 and 63.
In the group behind Yoon, a chorus of moans and groans filled the air as the strong crowd rode every shot from local member Marchesani who attempted to force a playoff but was unable to make a birdie at 17 or 18.
The 32-year-old held a four shot overnight advantage but a nervy start with bogeys at the third and fifth holes ultimately proved costly as he sought to claim his first victory on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
Smylie meanwhile admitted he was thinking about breaking 60 at stages of his round after shooting a six-under front nine 29.
The Queenslander finished bogey free but his eight-under 63 – the joint low round of the day alongside Yoon, Brett Coletta and Michael Hendry – placed him two shots back, tied for third with Micheluzzi and Barbieri who both shot final round 65s.
Australia’s top-ranked golfer with disability Cam Pollard took out the inaugural TPS All Abilities event after he shot rounds of 77 and 81 in the 36-hole tournament.
The New South Welshman has been a prolific winner in All Abilities tournaments and he also competed in the Australian Amateur earlier this month.
Now he has his eyes set on more trophies in the remaining three TPS events after winning by 13 shots from Victorian Mike Rolls.
“It’s bloody awesome. We don’t get to (play in front of crowds and be on television) very often so when we can we try and show them what we can do,” Pollard said.
“The best part of it is being up against the pros and showing everyone how we play.”
This week kicked off a busy schedule for the Sawtell Golf Club member who will tee it up at TPS Murray River, the Vic Open, TPS Sydney and TPS Hunter Valley throughout February.
Top amateur honours were claimed by Australian representative Justice Bosio, who earlier in the week received her invitation to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, as she finished inside the top-10 at 19-under.
“I didn’t think my week could get any better after finding out that I’ll be playing at Augusta,” she said.
“I played really well this week. Two solid rounds and then my personal best of 9-under on Saturday. Anything after 9-under doesn’t feel as exciting but I had a solid two-under.”
The junior event came down to a thrilling finish with Victorian Rupert Toomey winning in a playoff from soon-to-be Australian representative Jazy Roberts and Elbert Kim after they all ended the regulation 36-holes at one-over par.
Toomey holed a roughly 20-foot putt for birdie after not realising a playoff was on the cards and he had to be dragged away from his post-round meal in the clubhouse.