AUSTRALIAN golf pro Steven Jeffress has won the inaugural Fiji International with a four shot victory at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.
The 38 year old hit the very first tee shot of the 2014 Fiji International and sunk the very last putt, a birdie on the 72 hole to pull clear of fellow Aussie Jake Higginbottom.
“I’ve done the hard yards out here, I’ve been a Pro for a lot of years so it was nice to hit the first tee shot and the last putt and be the winner,” said Jeffress who finished with a tournament total of 10-under 278.
“It was kind of just meant to be in some ways. This is always going to have a special place in my heart and I think this is my new favourite golf course.”
With a career spanning 15 years this is Jeffress’ most significant win to date and earns him a prize cheque of US$180,000.
“This is the number one win of my career without a doubt and it is special. I am over the moon and a bit surprised,” added Jeffress.
“It has been years of hard work and family support so it feels very special. I just hit it in the right places this week.”
Jeffress and Higginbottom had started the day sharing the lead but at the turn it was Higginbottom who held a two shot advantage. Unfortunately for the 20 year old he opened the door coming down the stretch and his older rival took up the challenge.
“If you’d have said I would finish second at the start of the week I would have taken it. I played nice but Jeffo played unbelievable,” said Higginbottom, who won the 2012 New Zealand Open as an amateur.
“I made a couple of mistakes but apart from that I was pretty solid again. It was a little disappointing as I was in control there for a while.”
Australians Terry Pilkadaris and Andrew Dodt tied for third eight behind the winner after rounds of 71 and 76 respectively.
Fiji’s Vijay Singh, who designed the Natadola Bay course, finished off with a 73 to end in 10th place, on 2-over the card.
“It was tough out there, tough putting, tough driving. It just doesn’t let up, there is so much trouble and you have to focus on every shot,” said Singh.
“However, I really enjoyed being here and it was so nice to see people come out and watch me.”
Three-time Major winner Nick Price from Zimbabwe, aged 57, finished off a solid four rounds with a 75 to end in a tie for 35th place.
The next event on the PGA Tour of Australasia is the Isuzu Queensland Open Championship at Brookwater Golf and Country Club from 28-31 August.2014 Fiji International Final Results