23 October 2018

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Pike lands maiden Vic PGA title By Ben Triandafillou QUEENSLAND-based professional golfer Aaron Pike has won his first professional tournament, taking out the Victorian PGA Championship at RACV Cape Schanck Resort on Sunday 14 October. Pike, who began the final round two shots off the lead, shot 2-under 68 to finish at 10-under the card with rounds of 71, 65, 66 and 68. It was far from a straightforward finish however, as he faced a nervous wait as New Zealander Ryan Chisnall played the 18th hole in the group behind needing a birdie to force a playoff. Chisnall could only manage par giving Pike the biggest win of his professional career. “My first win and it feels pretty darn good,” Pike said. “It was a rollercoaster out there, as I was saying earlier in the week it was just going to be the guy who lasts the longest mentally out there and I feel as though I did really well at that. “Today was probably the best I’ve played, but I didn’t make the most of my chances with the putter so to still get over the line is obviously a really good sign for myself.” Pike joins an illustrious list of Victorian PGA Championship winners including Marc Leishman who, in a slice of synchronicity, won the CIMB Classic on the PGA TOUR just hours after Pike recorded his win. “There’s some guys on here like Nagle, Thompson, Roger Davis, Radar Riley, Marc Leishman, to have my name next to some of those guys is unbelievable,” Pike said. “But that’s just what we play in Australia, we’ve got some of the best golfers in the world so I’m sure there’s a few guys used to that feeling across the country. “It’s amazing my name is going to be on a trophy of this stature.”

Love of golf: Aaron Pike kiss’ his first Victorian PGA title trophy. Picture: PGA of Australia

For his win in the Victorian PGA Championship, Pike received $15,000 in prizemoney and moves to 41st on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit. Pike will now have a guaranteed

start alongside Leishman at the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort from Thursday 29 November to Sunday 2 December as well as full exemption on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia

until the end of the 2019 season. There were also several other standout moments at the RACV Cape Schanck Resort. Second year PGA Trainee professional Frazer Droop smashed the

course record at RACV Cape Schanck Resort to grab a share of the lead following the second round, alongside New Zealander Ryan Chisnall. Starting the second day at 1-over the card, Droop rattled off five birdies, two eagles and a clutch bogey for his record breaking round of 8-under 62. Despite strong winds throughout the tournament, Droop made sure he used a break in the weather to his advantage on the second day. “I think around courses like this you can use the clubs in your favour if it’s not too strong,” said Droop. “It’s a privilege to have a course record on any course. “I just kept it on the straight and narrow today and took advantage of a little less wind to get a couple of birdies and I ended up making an eagle on the 13th holing a wedge shot which got things going a bit. “I actually hit my tee shot on 13th left into the long grass. I hit it out and couldn’t see over the hill, the boys said it looked on-line and we looked around the green but couldn’t find it so I thought I better check in the hole and there it was.” Day Three was highlighted by Ben Ford who hit his seventh career holein-one on the par-3 16th from 139 metres with his 6-iron. Ford said he was lucky enough to be hitting off second. “My playing partner Adam Burdett hit a nice 5-iron which I thought was a little bit too much so I went back one and really punched it in there,” Ford said. “It was just the perfect wind for me from the left and off the bat we knew it was going to be close, it landed above the flag and with the wind and how quick that green is it just trickled in.” For all results from the Victorian PGA Championships visit: www.pga. org.au/.

Mornington trainers reign supreme on Blue Sapphire day By Ben Triandafillou THE Mornington trainers made their presence felt at Caulfield for Blue Sapphire day by claiming back-toback stakes races on Wednesday 17 October. Written By, for Pinecliff-based trainer Grahame Begg, continued his unbeaten preparation and maintained his undefeated status at Caulfield by claiming the $350,000 Group Three Blue Sapphire Stakes at his second run back from a spell. The Group One Blue Diamond winner bought up his fourth victory from four starts at the track and continued his progression towards the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Saturday 3 November. The three-year-old son of Written Tycoon scored a comfortable all-theway victory over Godolphin’s challenger Encryption and Lindsay Park’s Tony Nicconi. Despite taking up the running in the field of five, Begg believes the colt could also take a trail behind the leaders when he gets to Flemington for his main assignment. “It would be nice to see him get a sit one day but circumstances haven’t allowed him,” Begg said. “But he sat behind them in the Blue Diamond even though he was wide but when he gets a dead-set camp on him I reckon he’ll really let down.” Begg said that there should also still be some improvement left in Written


Mornington News

Track specialist: Written By maintains his undefeated status at Caulfield by winning the Group Three Blue Sapphire Stakes. Picture: Supplied

By as he nears his peak for the Coolmore Stud Stakes. “I thought he was about 80-85 per cent right first-up and I think he’s about 90 (per cent) now. (We’ve) just

23 October 2018

left a bit of juice in the orange.” Following Written By’s victory, the Shane Nichols-trained mare I Am A Star continued on her winning ways by claiming her third straight victory

in the Group 3 Ted Baker Ladies’ Day Vase (1600m). Just as Written By controlled the pace in the race prior, I Am A Star made all the running in the Group

Three before giving a kick in the straight to run away with the victory. That win made it a hat-trick of victories for the mare having also claimed the Group Two Stocks Stakes (1600m) at The Valley and the Group Two Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in her two prior starts. While the Group One Myer Classic, which she won as a three-year-old in 2016, has always been a spring goal, Nichols revealed that I Am A Star could also back-up a week later against the boys in the Emirates Stakes (2000m). “I’d like to (run her in the Emirates) but I don’t know whether I’d be given the tick of approval,” he said. “If all of a sudden, Winx has her Cox Plate and wanders off to the paddock, it would be silly not to. “She’s two-and-a-half weeks into the Myer now but she won the Myer off seven days, so why not (have a go).” Other notable mentions from the day include the Matt Laurie-trained gelding Real Success who just missed in the second race of the day as well as the Anthony Freedman-trained galloper Danon Roman who finished a narrow runner-up in the last event on the card.

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