After more than 30 years trying and a handful of runner-up finishes club stalwart Craig Coles finally claimed his maiden Epiroc Wentworth Open title over the weekend, becoming the first home course player since 2009 to do so in the process.
The last Wentworth member to win the club’s biggest prize was Geoff Wright almost 10 years ago but Coles – a six-time club champion, his last coming in 2016 – beat out some of the region’s best to break that drought by carding a four-over, 36-hole tally of 144.
He was tied for the lead with Duntryleague’s James Conran through 18 holes after they both shot even-par rounds of 70 on day one, and although he thought he’d “blown it” late on Sunday afternoon his four-over day two round of 74 was enough to secure the title.
“I actually had a ball stay stuck in a tree on the 35th hole, took a double (bogey) there, so I thought I might have blown it with that one, thought that might have cost me,” Coles said, he eventually won by a shot from Conran with reigning champion Craig Stojanovic two shots further back.
“I’m stoked, it’s good, it was pretty tough out on the course [on Sunday]. I’ve been trying for a long time so it’s good to finally win this one. I’ve won a few club championships up here but never the open, finished second a lot in all the years I’ve been here.”
Coles added how honoured he was to triumph, considering the winner now claims the Steve Roach Memorial Trophy, named after Wentworth’s passionate ex-president, who died in March.
“It’s been a long time since someone from Wentworth won this event, or a current Wentworth member anyway, so it’s pretty good that someone from the club has got their name on it before anyone else,” Coles said.
Wentworth professional Todd Brakenridge has always said how much he’d love to see a local claim the prize, and was stoked with Coles’ win too.
But he was equally as chuffed with the support the event garnered. The Wentworth Open was the best-supported, player-wise, of all Orange’s marquee events.
In a wrap-up video on social media, Brakenridge made a point of thanking all the event’s players and visitors, in particularly one supremely dedicated supporter.
“A big thanks to our visitors who travelled, we had numerous clubs represented but in particularly Richmond’s Graham Walker, who made the trip down for the 46th consecutive year which is a very impressive feat,” Brakenridge said.
“We were the most popular open tournament in Orange this year and that’s a great feather in the cap for the club.”
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