Nice blokes can win it seems! And they don’t come much nicer than Victorian Josh Younger. The popular 35 year old showed some serious Pro V’s to win this years A V Jennings NSW Open in a sudden-death play-off with New South Welshman Travis Smyth.
He didn’t make exactly easy for himself though. Standing on the tee of the difficult 18th hole, Josh held a 1 stroke lead (19 under) from Smyth and 2 the better of overnight co-leader Justin Warren. The 18th tee shot requires a drawing long iron or 3 wood but Josh sucked it up and pulled the big bloke out of his bag. Unfortunately what resulted was a ripping snap hook (actually more like a compound fracture hook), which belted into a giant gum tree some 150 metres from the tee and deflecting sideways straight into the water hazard. A drop, a chip out, pushed iron shot and two putts from 50 feet and Younger, who now looked 10 years older, was writing down a double bogey six on his card and signing for 17 under 271.
It appeared this would be yet another “close but no Cuban” for Josh until his pursuers tripped over as well. A 17th hole bogey for Smyth and a double on 18 by Warren meant it was back to the 18th tee for that most feared of golfing procedures, a sudden death play-off!
This time it was the trusty 3 wood for Younger resulting in a par the first time round good enough to half the hole with Travis and then a courageous birdie the second time round gave Josh the Kel Nagle Trophy and 72 of the nicest thousand dollar bills he’s ever seen.
“Its more a relief than anything,” Josh said. “I’ve been out here 10 years, lost in play-off and second at the Masters. I was unsure where I was standing (on the leaderboard), I was trying to get to 20 under. I was lucky that 18 didn’t cost me… and in fact I won with a birdie on that hole.”
Travis Smyth and Justin Warren are only 24 and the other player to miss the payoff by one, 21 year old Min Woo Lee is going to win something very large, very soon so they will all live to fight another day.
Footnote: How can you make decisions on course strategy when you don’t know whether you have a 2 shot lead or your 2 shots back? I get the modern psyche of playing each shot on its merit without letting your brain become saturated with the consequences… but in my opinion if you’re taking a risk to make a birdie when a par would win you the tournament I would want to know!
Any way great tournament and a worthy and likeable winner in Josh Younger.
Photo: Josh Younger with the Kel Nagle Trophy. Photo: Dave Tease, Golf NSW
-17 Josh Younger (won on 2nd Playoff)
-17 Travis Smyth
-16 Min Woo Lee
-15 Justin Warren
-13 Andrew Dodt
-12 Denzel Ieremia
-12 Andrew Martin
-11 Jake Higginbottom
-11 James Marchesani
-10 Brody Martin
-10 Max McCardle
-10 Peter Lonard
-10 Ben Eccles
-10 Christopher Wood