Former touring professional Dean Alaban has booked his place at the PGA Professionals Championship Final at Hamilton Island Golf Club after recording a one-stroke win at Mosman Park Golf Club in Perth on Friday.
Mosman Park GM and Head PGA Professional Tony Howell was on course to claim victory on home soil but Alaban used a birdie blitz in the middle of his round at the nine-hole layout to finish at 3-under 69, one clear of Howell with Glenn Joyner a further shot back in third place.
A regular on the Australasian and Asian tours in the early to mid-2000s, Alaban barely touched a golf club as he spent six years working on oil rigs in Malaysia and Australia but showed the benefits of devoting more time to playing and practising of late, his short game saving par on a number of occasions on the tricky Mosman Park course.
Currently based at Lakelands Country Club as the Assistant Golf Professional, the victory secures Alaban a debut appearance at Hamilton Island in September and perhaps the chance to treat his family to a long-awaited trip away.
“I dare say the wife will have a fair bit to say about that,” Alaban said when asked whether the family would be joining him.
“We go to Bali quite a bit but obviously we haven’t been able to go anywhere for quite a while now. It would be nice for us all to be able to go away together.”
Although he had never played the golf course previously, it was a somewhat familiar setting for Alaban who conducted some ladies and beginner clinics at Mosman Park shortly after completing his PGA of Australia Bridging Course.
He spent time at Royal Perth Golf Club, Joondalup Resort and worked in the retail area of the industry before landing at Lakelands under Damien Chatterley in November 2018.
With an eye on joining the seniors circuit when he turns 50, Alaban said he has been trying to squeeze in a game a week and some practise among his work and family commitments.
“I’ve got two kids who are 14 and 11 so there’s school drop off as well as shop hours and teaching so some days you don’t even get to touch a club,” Alaban conceded.
“If you work it well you might get two or three days of practise here and there. You could do more but you wouldn’t be giving any lessons and bringing in any income.
“We’re trying to play at least once a week and with a few of the local events try and get out a bit more to keep the body moving and the game sharp.
“I’ve got aspirations to go on the seniors tour so I’ve got a few more years to do that. Hopefully I can keep the body sharp. I really enjoy playing and I have a different perspective on playing now than what I used to.
“I went and worked on the oil rigs and got right away from the game and that was probably good. I realised how much I love it and enjoy it and want to be in that golfing world.
“Whether it’s professional, amateur or club just love being in that environment.”
PGA National Management Professional of the Year Josh Madden (Wembley Golf Course) was the early front-runner having reached 2-under through nine holes but four birdies in the space of five holes saw Alaban take control.
There was a dropped shot at the 16th hole but two closing pars were enough for Alaban to hold on to win, Howell’s consolation prize a spot in the 2021 Senior Australian PGA Championship.
The next of the state qualifiers is South-East Queensland at the Victoria Park Golf Complex in Brisbane on May 25 with the Victorian and North Queensland Championships to be held on May 31 at Commonwealth and Mackay golf clubs respectively.