Palmer Coolum Resort’s Director of Golf, Paul Crangle went head to head with three other Palmer Golf professionals on Tuesday in the third and final round of the Palmer Golf pro challenge.
Despite having a home-course advantage and surging from the back in opening nine holes, Crangle fell off the pace later in the day leaving Palmer Colonial’s Chris Renouf and Dylan Field (Palmer Gold Coast)) to battle for the winning shot on the 18th tee.
Palmer Gold Coast PGA trainee Dylan Field led the pack heading into Tuesday’s final round but with nine to play, Renouf held a three-stroke lead over Crangle and Field with Palmer Colonial’s Glen Hollick a further four shots adrift.
Field clawed his way back and was only one away from Renouf at the 18th tee. Two outstanding drives kept the pair neck and neck with Field’s superb short game making him the favourite for the hole.
Field gave his second shot too much power however and the ball faded away before landing in the water, giving a focused Renouf his chance to make par and secure the coveted Challenge win – and a place alongside some of the world’s best golfers in the upcoming Australian PGA Championship.
The Palmer Golf Pro Challenge was played over three rounds between the professionals at each of the Palmer Golf courses – Palmer Colonial, Palmer Gold Coast and Palmer Coolum Resort.
In a fortnight’s time, Renouf will return to Coolum to face the media glare and a shot at the big time, lining up against the likes of defending champion Greg Chalmers, 2011 British Open winner Darren Clarke, Greg Norman and Geoff Ogilvy in the PGA Championship proper, which begins on 13 December.
The pressure of playing in front of television cameras and the world’s media might be somewhat tempered however by the potential prize money on offer should he make the cut.
“It would be a lovely early Christmas present [making the cut], that’s for sure,” Renouf said.
“I came up to the resort on Sunday to get a bit of practice in and it paid off for me today – it was a great battle and we all wanted to win. I’m very excited about making it into the PGA; I just can’t wait.
“I’m looking forward to playing in front of a good crowd and you never know what can happen on the day.”
The news that star player Darren Clarke will return to Coolum following his maiden appearance last year is expected to be a bonus for local golf fans.
In 2011, Clarke arrived at Coolum with a prized possession in hand – the British Open trophy he secured earlier that year at Royal St George’s Golf Club.
“I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t get their picture taken with Darren or that trophy,” Palmer Coolum’s Director of Golf, Paul Crangle said.
“He was so accommodating. I can’t imagine how many photographs he must have posed for, but he never once let anyone down. We’re so pleased that he’s coming back again.”
Clarke will be joined at Palmer Coolum Resort by a 156-man field that includes around 30 of Australia’s top 50 professional players, all vying for a share of the $AUD1.25 million in prize money.
The championship has been held in Coolum since 2002 and last year’s event saw over 36,000 spectators through the door at Palmer Coolum Resort with at least that number expected this time around.Full coverage of the event will be broadcast domestically on Network Ten, as well as internationally and the massive global audience makes the event an important driver for the region’s economy.
The Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola will be played at Palmer Coolum Resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast from 13–16 December 2012.
Tickets are now on sale at www.ticketek.com.au and golf fans can save money by getting in early and pre-purchasing tickets by 5pm Wednesday 12 December.
For more information visit the tournament website at http://championship.pga.org.au.