Birdies at two of his final three holes has taken Perth product Brady Watt to a three-shot victory at the $35,000 Nexus Risk Services South West Open at Bunbury Golf Club.
Starting the second round with a one-stroke buffer, Watt was able to absorb pressure applied by veteran Matt Millar and then finish off in style, rolling in a 25-footer for birdie at the 172-metre par-3 16th and backing that up with his fifth birdie of the round at the par-5 17th on his way to a round of 4-under 68 and two-round total of 9-under par.
Now based in Victoria, Watt played all of his junior and amateur golf out of Royal Perth Golf Club. He first played the South West Open as a 15-year-old in 2005 and said it was nice to return and leave as the champion.
“I’ve literally been playing this event since I was 15 in 2005 when Mark Patterson and Nexus Risk Services started sponsoring the event,” Watt said.
“I’ve been coming down to this event for many years as a junior and it’s nice to finally get over the line as a professional.”
With three birdies in the space of five holes Millar joined Watt and Dale Howie in a tie for the lead at 5-under but found trouble at the par-5 17th.
He was forced to lay up at the par 5 and made par, giving Watt the belief that he had the edge to be able to close out the win.
“I saw Matty Millar on the live scoring and he was going down 17 as I was going down 13,” said Watt.
“At the time he was at 6-under and I thought if I’m at 7 and don’t make a mistake coming in and sneak a couple then the walk on the last couple of holes would be pretty enjoyable.
“It’s a tricky golf course. Strategy is so important. You’ve got to have uphill putts and stay patient.
“There’s a tough little stretch, 13 through 15, and I parred those holes.
“At 16 I holed a nice 25-footer across the green and then birdied 17 which was the icing on the cake. Made the walk down 18 a lot more enjoyable.”
Joint winner of the Dunsborough Lakes Pro-Am last Thursday, Watt’s Adidas Pro-Am Series win on Sunday rounded out an emotional week that included sitting final exams in Accounting and Economics for the Business degree he is currently completing as well as having to postpone his wedding for a second time due to the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place in Victoria.
“My fiancee is in lockdown in Victoria and that was pretty tough because we had to postpone our wedding for a second time,” Watt revealed.
“It’s nice to put some joy into family over east at the moment, especially my fiancee. She’s a rock star and it means a lot to get over the line.”
Millar (68) finished three strokes back of Watt in outright second with Cameron John delivering the equal best round of the day of 67 to climb into outright third at 5-under par.
Amateurs Josiah Gilbert (67) and Joseph Owen (68) were a further shot back in a tie for fourth followed by one of WA’s finest in Brett Rumford (70) and amateur Aldrich Potgieter (69) who shared sixth position.