West Australian Michael Sim won a thrilling edition of the 2017 Isuzu Queensland Open for his first title on Australian soil.
Starting the day at 7-under par, Sim shot a 2-under 69 and showed his class on the 18th hole by rolling in a 12-foot birdie putt to finish 9-under and apply the pressure to New Zealand’s Harry Bateman, who would tee it up on 18 at 8-under.
Bateman would bogey the final hole as Sim claimed his first professional title since 2009.
“It’s an incredible feeling; it’s an emotional feeling. I never thought this might happen again and it’s my first professional win in Australia. There’s a lot to look forward to,” Sim said.
Playing a group ahead of leader Bateman, Sim said he never looked at the scoreboard until an impressive wedge shot set up his look at a final birdie.
“I never thought I was chance to win until really my wedge shot on the last and saw there was three or four guys on 8-under. I was just going about my own business. That might’ve been a little bit different if I was in the last group, but I guess I had a little bit of freedom of not knowing so I just took it shot-by-shot.”
The win now gives Sim the security of a spot full-time on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia for the remainder of 2017 and 2018. He’ll now take on the gruelling six-stage Japan Tour Qualifying School under less pressure knowing he’ll have a place to play in the foreseeable future.
“My priority now is to get the body ready,” Sim said. “I’ve got the next six days off then I’m off to Japan for the third stage of qualifying.”
“Until this week, if I didn’t get through in Japan, I didn’t know where I’d be. I’m not too high on the Australasian Order of Merit and I’ve got a really small Web. com category as a past champion, but there was still obviously doubt there.
“I think I’ve kind of relaxed in the past few weeks and just tried to play golf; if I was hitting a bad shot or miss a short putt I just move on. This game, you just don’t know what’s going to happen. I felt like I was on top of my game six years ago, top-50 in the world. I know I’m still a little far away from that but at least I know I can still do it.”
It’s been a big 2017 for Sim, who married his wife Simone earlier this year and they are expecting their first child in early 2018.
“It’s going to be an exciting time for Simone and I next February. It’s going to be a really happy time for our families and looking forward to taking the next step.”
Kieran Muir (NZ) and Oliver Goss (WA) shared second on 8-under, with Damien Jordan (QLD) and Bateman rounding out the top-five at 7-under. Queenslander Douglas Klein was the best placed amateur, finishing 5-under and T-7.
For his win, Sim picks up $16,500.00 and moves to 28th on the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit. The tour now travels to Twin Creeks Golf & Country Club in western Sydney for the 2017 NSW Open Championship from November 16-19.