Sanchez defies late scare to win DP World Tour Q School - PGA of Australia

Sanchez defies late scare to win DP World Tour Q School

Not even a back-nine triple-bogey when his tee shot got stuck up a tree could prevent Matias Sanchez from taking top spot at First Stage of DP World Tour Qualifying School at Rosebud Country Club.

Leading by one at the start of Friday’s final round, Sanchez raced out to a five-stroke lead with a front nine of 3-under 32.

A bogey on 10 was a slight stumble compared to what was to come.

The Victorian’s tee shot was tracking with the right edge of the fairway but had its trajectory halted by a pine tree flanking the fairway.

His provisional tee shot that went left of the fairway necessitated a chip sideways back to the fairway, Sanchez making triple-bogey seven to see his lead almost evaporate entirely.

“That was pretty stressful to be honest,” he admitted.

“I was cruising for most of the day and then I hit a drive and got stuck up a tree on 12.

“It felt like I wasn’t really in control of things so the tension levels were definitely high.

“I didn’t make the best swing off 14, made a bogey there but then pulled it together and played really good down the stretch for the last four holes which I was pretty proud of.”

A member of both Royal Melbourne Golf Club and Sandhurst Club, Sanchez (72) would ultimately finish two strokes clear of – pictured left to right – Andre Lautee (73) with Lucas Higgins (70) and Cooper Eccleston (69) completing the top four who advance to Second Stage of Qualifying School in November.

While the triple-bogey on 12 brought Sanchez back to the back, he said the birdie on 16 was even more stressful.

After hitting his best tee shot for the week on the 474-metre par 5, Sanchez hit his 3-wood from 255 metres toward the left trap, only to find his ball sitting on a sliver of sandy rough.

“I haven’t got a stance at all so I thought I might either flub it straight into the bunker or if I hit it too good it will roll over the back,” Sanchez said.

“Somehow I hit the best chip of the week there to about 12 feet and rolled it in.”

The calming presence of coach Tim Wendel on the bag helped Sanchez navigate the final two holes relatively stress free, the pair now plotting a schedule that will hopefully end with a 2024 DP World Tour card.

“I’ve never been to Spain but I’m fluent in Spanish so that will be good,” said Sanchez, whose family emigrated from Chile before he was born.

“If all goes well that’d be amazing and then if I can get to Final Stage and then obviously the goal is to get your tour card.

“It’s a long way to go and I’ve got plenty of work to do with my coach Tim Wendel but I’m playing decent so we’ll see what happens.”

Heartbreak story of the day belonged to West Australian Braden Becker who made double-bogey on the final hole to miss out on advancing by a single stroke.

Going into the final round of First Stage at The Players Club in England, Aussies Todd Sinnott and Ryan Ruffels are tied for 10th and 19th respectively, the top 19 and ties to be exempt into Second Stage.

Final scores

Photo: Monica Marchesani/PGA

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