Brett Colletta is first amateur to win Queensland Open since Stuart Appleby

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VICTORIA’S Brett Colletta is following in some famous footsteps by becoming the first amateur to win the Queensland Open since a 20 year old Stuart Appleby in 1991.

Colletta too is a 20 year old and now faces the decision of whether to turn professional and attempt to further emulate the nine time US PGA TOUR winner.

The now 45 year old Appleby turned professional the year following his Queensland win, also at the Brisbane Golf Club, and has gone on to record 17 professional wins overall.

“I can’t even explain how I feel at the moment, I am lost for words,” said Coletta, who fired rounds of 67, 69, 67, 70 for a tournament total 7-under 273 to win the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia title by three shots.

“I had a couple of starts coming up anyway which was handy to know but to win this week and get a couple of years exemption, I will have a serious conversation with a few people about it.”

Coming into the tournament fresh off the disappointment of finishing runner-up at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Coletta was very proud at the resilience he showed to bounce back this week.

“The Asian-Amateur was just a disappointment, you don’t want to ever face that again, you wouldn’t wish it upon anyone,” added Coletta.

“To come back this week, play the way I did and come out on top I am just so proud of myself, I just can’t put words to it.”

“The way I handled myself was the biggest thing I learned today.”

For most of the day Coletta held a five shot lead but runner-up and fellow Victorian Lucas Herbert challenged him in the middle of the back-9.

Herbert made an eagle at the 12th and had a near miss for an ace at the par-3 13th. Feeling the pressure Coletta made a double bogey at the 14th.

“I just thought eagle, eagle what is this? It was a great shot by him. We had to wait on the tee for 10 minutes and he would have had stuff running through his head just like I did. He hit a great shot and I felt the pressure,” Coletta said.

“The next hole (13) was just an error, probably the worst one I made all week and it cost me a couple of shots.

“Coming down the stretch with people putting the pump on me, I had a good buffer at the start of the day and I just saw it slip right in front of me with four holes to go,” added Coletta, who fired under pressure draining a 30 foot uphill putt for birdie on the 17th.

“I was staring down the barrel, I still had the lead, but it was much tighter than I would have liked. That putt on 17 was such a heartfelt putt.”

While it was a great battle at the end, Coletta’s lead proved too much for Herbert to overcome. For his runner-up result Herbert collected the first place cheque of AUD$16,500 as well as a start at the NSW Open in two weeks.

This result has seen Herbert move to 56th on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit with the top-60 earning a Tour card for the 2017 season.

1991 Queensland Open winner Stuart Appleby has a professional carreer spanning some 24 years with 17 porfessional wins and top ten finishes in all four majors, inlcuding a T2 at the 2002 British Open
1991 Queensland Open winner Stuart Appleby has a professional carreer spanning some 24 years with 17 professional wins and top ten finishes in all four majors, inlcuding a T2 at the 2002 British Open

Thanks to a birdie at the 18th hole, Dale Brandt-Richards finished tied third with Kalem Richardson on 3-under the card, also earning a place in the NSW Open.

Finishing in a tie for 5th were a group of six players including Jarryd Felton (WA), Ben Campbell (NZ), Douglas Klein (am)(QLD), James Gibellini (QLD), Ryan Lynch (VIC) and Max McCardle (SA).

For all final results please visit pga.org.au.

From the Isuzu Queensland Open the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia moves to Stonecutters Ridge Golf Course from 10-13 November for the NSW Open Championship.

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