Hervey Bay Associate Lachlan Wood has survived the marathon of 36-holes a day for four days to be crowned the 2023 Coca-Cola Pampling Plate champion.
Facing off against Indooroopilly first year Associate Dylan Knox in Thursday’s 36-hole final at Caboolture Golf Club, Wood stayed true to the game-plan that had served him well all week to triumph 3&2.
The lead changed hands on no less than six occasions throughout the final, Knox unable to get the putts he needed to drop to keep pace with Wood in the latter holes.
A winner of All Abilities tournaments in Australia and New Zealand and a two-time winner on the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series this year, Wood was doubtful to play as late as last week.
Forced to endure more than 30 operations after his left leg was shattered in 44 places in a car in which he was a passenger at 16 years of age, Wood cannot sustain the physical toll of 36 holes a day without a cart.
Granted an exemption to use a cart this week, Wood revealed that he would not have teed it up at the start of the week without it.
“I can possibly walk 36 holes, but it would ruin me for days,” said Wood, who was top 10 at the inaugural G4D Open in London earlier this year.
“I would be in so much pain, unable to work, unable to just do day-to-day life things after it. It just wouldn’t be worth it.
“That’s why I put in the exemption to get the cart with my injuries. They’re not getting any better, they’re only getting worse and for me this is the most feared event on the calendar to have to play.
“I was probably not playing this a week ago and now to be standing here with the trophy is a really good feeling.”
A daily routine that began at 4.30am each day put Wood in a position to compete, his strategy on the golf course ideally suited to the vagaries of matchplay.
“Pretty much against everyone I played I was hitting 7-irons when they were hitting wedges,” he said.
“I was hitting 2-irons off tees when they were hitting drivers. Here at Caboolture, that’s just what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to control your ball.
“Didn’t try to play anyone else’s game, just played my own game all day. And if it’s good enough, it’s good enough and if it’s not, it’s not.
“It worked this week.”
Making the trip from his home in Ipswich each day, Knox stayed in the fight for as long as possible before a frustrating day with the flatstick ultimately proved his undoing.
One-down through nine holes, Knox had the match back square after 18 and was 1 up with seven holes to play.
Wood then unleashed a superb finish to take four of the next five holes to secure the title with two holes to play.
“I just couldn’t get the speed today. They felt a little bit slower in some areas so maybe the wind influenced that a little bit,” said Knox.
“Lachy’s a good player so it was a tough one.
“We were going back and forth with a couple of birdies and a couple of par saves but I had a couple of bad lies and the wind started to pick up a bit. A couple of time I thought I’d picked the perfect club but it wasn’t, so that got in my head a little bit.
“I think the mental strain I’ve experienced doing this for the first time was tough.”
Now in its 19th year, Marge Pampling was on hand to present Wood with the Pampling Plate, Wood grateful for everything that Rod and the Pampling family have done to create such a prestigious tournament among PGA Associates.
“Huge thank you to Rod for what he has done for us,” said Wood.
“It’s an experience like no other. You learn more about yourself in this than in any other event because you get more tired, you get more exhausted, it brings the worst out in every single person to a degree.
“Trying to keep your lid on when you’re absolutely, physically exhausted is a whole skill in itself.
“This event has been designed really well and the prizemoney we get to play for is really appreciated.”
In the playoff for third and fourth, defending champion Dylan Gardner (Pelican Waters) edged Haydn Garner (Headland) 3&1.