Rankin reveals key to Townsville Pro-Am win - PGA of Australia

Rankin reveals key to Townsville Pro-Am win

A short game focus within his practice regime has paid immediate dividends for Brett Rankin who won the $50,000 Lexus Townsville Classic at the first playoff hole on Sunday.

Identifying the short game as an area that needed improvement in the wake of the 2022/2023 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia season, Rankin went to work.

Chipping was a primary area of concern and the time he has invested yielded instant results in the 54-hole tournament’s closing moments at Townsville Golf Club.

Needing to par the 185-metre par-3 18th to secure a place in the playoff alongside Shae Wools-Cobb at 11-under par, Rankin hit his 5-iron left of the green for the third straight day.

But, for the third day in a row, he got up-and-down from a difficult position, a feat he repeated in the playoff to claim victory.

“To test myself on the 54th hole, to try and get up and down to make the playoff, which I did, and then to win it with an up-and-down in the playoff is definitely something I’m pretty proud of,” Rankin said.

“It definitely tested me out. The fact that something I’ve been working pretty hard on the last week, to be tested in the fashion that I was and to pull it off is definitely a big win for me.

“Hit 5-iron at the last like I had all three days, pulled it left like I had every day and I knew how bad it was over there.

“Somehow made four up-and-downs the four times that I played it and that was definitely what won the event.”

Four strokes back of 18 and 36-hole leader TJ King at the start of the final round, Rankin made birdie at the par-3 third and then picked up three shots in the space of four holes before the turn.

Spurned by an experience at the PNG Open in 2017, Rankin monitored the leaderboard throughout the back nine and knew exactly what was required as he neared the end of his round.

“I had my eye on the scoreboard all day. I like to watch the leaderboards,” Rankin explained.

“I had a situation a few years ago in PNG where I didn’t know the leaderboard. I thought I’d won the event but then I found out that I’d lost by a shot.

“Playing the last two holes I knew where I was. I knew if I could birdie 17 that would have been really nice because it would have given me a shot buffer heading to a really difficult last hole and a hole that I haven’t played well at all this week.”

With Wools-Cobb in the clubhouse after a round of 7-under 64, Rankin couldn’t produce the extra birdie he needed to avoid a playoff but his short game came up trumps once again to seal the win.

“I saw what the scores were like after the first round and thought that you didn’t need to do too much here this week,” said Rankin, who shot 65 in the final round for an 11-under total.

“The course is good. It asks a lot of questions strategically. Sometimes I quite like that. You’ve got to have a good game-plan and you’ve got to execute well.”

Coffs Harbour-based Andrew Campbell (64) birdied 14, 15, 16 and 17 to finish outright third one shot out of the playoff as King (72) shared fourth spot with Chris Wood (70).

The next event on the North Queensland swing of the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series is the Abbot Point Operations Bowen Pro-Am at Bowen Golf Club on Thursday.

Final scores and prize money

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