SIMply stunning finish at the WA Open

Crowds flocked to Cottesloe Golf Club to see who would win the 2019 Nexus Risk WA Open Championship and the players did not disappoint.

All eyes were on the final group of Michael Sim, Rick Kulacz and Hayden Hopewell who were collectively 35-under par for the first three rounds of the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series tournament.

The pressure of last group quietened the scoring through the front-nine where Kulacz and Hopewell both recorded even-par.

Sim was the only one in the red at 1-under par as the trio moved into the back-nine tightly bunched.

Six groups ahead of the leaders was Dale Williamson who was putting together a very impressive round that included three eagles, three birdies along with two bogies to post a final round 7-under par 65 and sign his card tied for the lead.

“I played really nice in that wind, controlled my ball well and rolled it on the greens really nice,” said Williamson who eventually tied for third place at 12-under the card.

Michael Wright stretched to a 13-under par total and joined Sim at the top of the leaderboard before an unfortunate bogey at the last dropped him back to a 12-under total and in tie for third place with Williamson, Daniel Fox and Aaron Wilkin.

Yet it was Sim who continued to put space between himself and the field with birdies at 11,14, 16 and 17 to reach 15-under par with one to play and be two shots ahead of overnight leader, amateur Hayden Hopewell.

The 18th threw a spanner in the works when Sim hit his drive left and had to chip out short right of the green and Hopewell hit his second shot to 40 feet from the pin.

Sim went on to hit an amazing chip shot to three feet but that’s when things got heated. Hopewell went on to roll his birdie putt in, all but forcing Sim to hole his downhill three-footer for the win.

Sim held his cool to record his first WA Open title and take home the winner’s cheque for $18,301.

“I knew I had two shots going up the last but when Hayden holed his, I had to switch and make sure of holing the small putt,” Sim said.

This and a third place result last week at the WA PGA Championship kick-starts a big summer of golf for the West Australian.

“It’s amazing to get another win and especially to back up from last week, this will give me a lot of confidence moving into some big events now.”

A fantastic effort from Hopewell earned the young-gun outright second place at 14-under the card.

Sim will be one to watch when the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia returns at the Victorian PGA Championship at RACV Cape Schanck Resort from Thursday.

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