De Sousa secures maiden win at South West Open - PGA of Australia

De Sousa secures maiden win at South West Open

Rookie professional Jose De Sousa has wasted no time in accumulating winner’s cheques, taking out the rain-shortened $40,000 South West Isuzu South West Open at Bunbury Golf Club.

In an outstanding amateur career, De Sousa qualified for the 2014 WA Open at just 14 years of age and is in his maiden season on the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series.

He finished just outside the top 10 at the Cottesloe Open last month and built a two-stroke lead after the opening round at Bunbury with a round of 6-under 66.

It would prove to be the winning score as lightning and torrential rain that dropped 27mm after 4pm meant that the second round was unable to be completed, the scores reverting to the 18-hole totals and De Sousa awarded the $7,190 winner’s cheque.

With the threat of bad weather in the forecast, play started early on day two. Capel Pro-Am winner Braden Becker rose to 8-under to take the ascendancy as De Sousa tried to keep pace in the group behind.

Lightning and a second suspension of play would ultimately decide De Sousa’s fate as he earned a maiden professional win.

“I kept on getting asked by people how it was feeling and the game’s been feeling really good. Finally it paid off in a little bit of a circumstance,” De Sousa said.

“It was a little bit of a hectic day. Got off to a pretty average start for how I was feeling but it turned itself around.

“Obviously the first round was amazing. It just kind of flowed. That’s the only word that I can think of right now.

“Great event to do it at. I played a lot of junior golf down here, I played this event as an amateur quite a fair few times so I knew the course pretty well.

“It’s always a pleasure to get to play in front of people and against the best in the business

“Just very wholesome that it came at this time to be honest.”

Unsure as to what the rest of his pro-am season would consist of, the status of the South West Open provides De Sousa with a higher exemption category and likely greater playing opportunities.

“I actually didn’t realise that at all so that’s made me think a little bit differently,” he added of the South West Open’s divisional tournament status.

“Maybe I will add a few more to the roster and go and experience a few more pro-ams and hopefully bigger tournaments the rest of the year.”

Becker would have to be content with a share of second alongside Rick Kulacz at 4-under 68, WA Amateur champion Ollie Marsh tied for fourth with Ryan Peake with rounds of 3-under 69.

As a result, Marsh claimed both the Jim Barr Medal (Leading Amateur) and the Phil Stott Memorial Trophy (Leading Junior).

But arguably the biggest news of the day came courtesy of 16-year-old Busselton amateur Chloe Veeran.

Playing in the first group to reach the designated party hole – the 137-metre par-3 17th – Veeran made a hole-in-one to win a car worth $60,000 donated by major sponsor South West Isuzu.

The left-hander is a member of the GolfWA Talent Development Program and was understandably overcome when the perfectly struck tee shot landed on the front portion of the green and rolled in centre-cup.

A change to the Rules of Golf from January 1, 2022 allows for amateurs to collect hole-in-one prizes in a tee-to-hole competition regardless of value, making it a shot she will remember for the rest of her life.

“I wasn’t thinking of holing it, I just wanted to hit it close to the pin,” said Veeran.

The party hole was a welcome addition to the event, with music and beverages enjoyed by many over the course of the weekend.

The next event on the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series is the $50,000 Mitchell & Brown Spalding Park Open. The richest event on this year’s schedule starts Friday in Geraldton.

Final scores and prize money

Headlines at a glance

Media Centre