Yeoval product Aaron Wilkin has claimed the Dubbo Open crown in front of a crowd stocked with friends and family members.
Wilkin, who grew up in Yeoval and has been staying there with his grandmother June in the lead up to the three-day event, made the trek from his current home in Queensland to stake a claim to a spot in the NSW Open.
Wilkins shot seven under par across the first round of the competition in order to take an early lead, but was bettered when the final group of the first day played through.
Late-arrival Jordan Widdicombe smashed his way to a course-record setting 63 as part of that last group and wrested the lead from Wilkins, who was supported by his grandmother and other family members up and down the length of the course throughout.
"It was good. I didn't know all of them, but a lot were Nan's family and friends. I left here when I was ten, so it's been a long time," Wilkin said.
"To do it in front of Nan too, that was special. She's had me in Yeoval for the week, so I'm pretty happy."
"It was pretty cool to have her walking around. She's never done that before, and it was pretty good. So as long as she's happy, I'm happy."
The circumstances were reversed on day two, with Wilkin taking his time as part of the final group alongside Widdicombe.
While he stayed in touch with the top two over the second round, Widdicombe struggled to make the most of his early lead and fell behind across the back nine.
An eagle, followed by a slew of birdies, helped Wilkin keep his target pegged to his earlier effort and he again triumphed seven under par on the second day, easing him ahead of Widdicombe and second-placed Charlie Dann.
Wilkin, who's happy to admit that the lockdown imposed lack of play last year has been a struggle, chalked some of his straying shots, including a lone bogey towards the close of play, to ring-rust.
"Hitting balls out on the range hasn't done a lot for me," Wilkin said.
"I had a little bit of luck out there today, but I played well."
The vantage point of playing in the final group allowed Wilkin some time to centre himself, and keep track of what the other top-scorers were offering.
"I knew what Jordan was shooting and I knew what the other guys were shooting too," Wilkin said.
"It's good to have, but it can be bad too, you can't always concentrate on what the others are shooting, I just tried to focus on my own thing, to be honest."
Wilkin and Widdicombe are now both guaranteed berths in the NSW Open, which will take place at Widdicombe's work place in Concord.
The thought is something that's motivating Wilkin in his return to playing, and an event he's eager to carry momentum forward into.
"Jordan said that Concord is in great shape right now, and I'm ready to push this win into that one," Wilkin said.
The NSW Open will begin in earnest at Concord golf course on March 25 and play out over three days.
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