Mark Phillips captures maiden Johnnie Walker Classic title by a whisker
Third time proved to be a charm for Mark Phillips, who led from wire to wire to capture a maiden John Walker Classic title by a whisker at Ocean View Golf Course yesterday.
The 32-year-old professional carded a one-over 141 to pip amateur pair Damian Palanyandi and Jarryd Dillas, the defending champion, by a solitary shot.
“This is my first win for the Johnnie Walker and it’s definitely exciting,” an elated Phillips told The Royal Gazette.
“I haven’t really been playing much in tournaments and things like that. But this is definitely an achievement.
“Brian (Ocean View head professional Brian Morris) and the team here hold a great tournament and I am definitely looking forward to coming back next year.”
Phillips fired an opening round, three-under 67 at the Devonshire course on Saturday to take a one-shot advantage over Palanyandi into the final round, during which he carded four birdies and was virtually flawless with his irons hitting 15 greens in regulation.
“That was a great round,” Phillips added. “Everything was just clicking. It was just one after another. I had my dad on the bag and everything just worked in my favour.”
Phillips finished with a four-over 74 in the second round, which was just enough to clinch the title after he almost let things slide on the back nine
Holding a comfortable four-shot advantage over Dillas at the turn, he lost momentum after making double bogeys at ten and thirteen and bogeys at eleven and the final hole.
“I was one under after the turn and then had two bad holes with double bogeys,” he added. “I made two silly errors but I wasn’t mad. I just kept my head down and tried to work through it. Keep playing my game, make some pars and birdies and get on home.”
Palanyandi also signed off with a four-over 74 to finish tied for second with fellow amateur Dillas who carded a 72.
“Playing with Jarryd and Damian, we were pretty much neck and neck coming down to the wire, so I knew everything counted from that point onward,” Phillips said.
“I didn’t know where anybody was. I just tried to defend and hold it off a little bit and make those pars and just finish up.”
Amateur Will Haddrell carded the lowest round of the day with a one-under 69 to finish fourth at five-over 145.
Professional Chris Smith rounded off the top five a further two shots back.