MICHAEL SIM has won an instant promotion to the US PGA Tour after claiming his third Nationwide Tour victory at the Christmas in October Classic.
The 24 year old West Australian, considered one of the hottest young prospects on the world golf scene, posted rounds of 65, 67,65 & 67 for a total of 20 under 264, claiming the inaugural event by two shots.
He is the first player on the Nationwide Tour to have topped the half million dollar mark.
Going into the event Sim had dominated the Nationwide Tour in 2009 with two victories, a second place and seven top ten results from 11 events.
His performance on the weekend saw him post 22 birdies and just two bogeys in 72 holes to finish two shots ahead of American Josh Teater with fellow American Michael Clark II third another two shots back.
The victory gives Sim an instant promotion to the PGA TOUR this year and will make him fully exempt on Tour next year.
He also collected $112,500 to boost his earnings to $527,079 and break Troy Matteson’s single-season record of $495,009 set in 2005.
Sim has eclipsed the record in just 12 starts and is averaging a whopping $43,923 for every week he tees it up.
“It’s very relieving,” said Sim, who collected his second win at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in mid-May. “I’d been in this position before and I wasn’t able to get it done. I tried to stay in the moment as best I could. In Omaha I found it really difficult to stay focused on the last day. Fortunately I learned how to deal with those distractions. I did everything right today.”
Sim becomes the ninth player in Tour history to earn the promotion to the PGA TOUR and the first to do so since his US housemate fellow Aussie Nick Flanagan accomplished the feat two years ago.
Sim’s year has been nothing short of outstanding. His three victories at the BMW Charity Pro-Am Classic, the Stonebrae Classic and now the Christmas in October Classic are the icing on the cake after he also claimed a runner up, third and fourth place finish.
He has held the number one place on the Money List since April and created a Tour-record $211,136 advantage over the number two placed player, making history on the way by being the first Nationwide Tour member to crack the world top 100 on May 18.
He made his Major debut at the US Open and if that wasn’t enough, Sim enjoyed a dream come true for any young golfer when he was paired with World Number one Tiger Woods for the final day. In a reflection of the growth and maturity he has shown in 2009, Sim held his own and finished a creditable 18th at the event at Bethpage GC.
He followed up his Open debut with his maiden appearance at the final Major for the year last week at the USPGA Championship, finishing in a tie for 51st place.
The victory puts Sim in a bit of a holding pattern. The PGA TOUR schedule begins an extended run for the playoffs and the FedExCup and Sim isn’t eligible to play for at least the next five weeks.
“I might go home to Australia or I might just keep my schedule on this Tour until it’s time for me to play one on the big Tour,” he said. “It’s a good problem to have.”