CALM AND COLLECTED: Matthew Docking made it back-to-back PGA Professionals Championship titles on Dent Island last week. Photo: PGA of Australia
CALM AND COLLECTED: Matthew Docking made it back-to-back PGA Professionals Championship titles on Dent Island last week. Photo: PGA of Australia

Successful PGA title defence

GOLF: Matthew Docking has successfully defended his PGA Professionals Championship crown at Hamilton Island, finishing one shot clear of Vernon Sexton-Finck.

The Cowra Golf Club head professional scored a one-over par round of 72 on Friday to cap off a remarkable week where he carded three-under par for the competition on Dent Island.

Starting the final round with a two-shot lead, Docking was again quick to get out of the blocks - extending his lead to five through just three holes.

However it didn't stay that way for long, as Sexton-Finck continued chipping away at the lead, including a two-shot swing on the 14th to cut Docking's advantage to just one stroke.

A bogey on the 15th for Sexton-Finck meant Docking, who also won last year's event, arrived at the 18th with a two-shot buffer.

As he had done all week, Docking held his nerve with his second shot to find the green and when Sexton-Finck held the birdie putt to reduce the margin to just one, Docking need only two putts to claim the title.

He became the first professional since Brad Burns in 2004-05 to win back-to-back PGA Professionals Championships.

"The win hasn't really sunk in as yet, but I am sure it will over the next few days," Docking said.

"It was really tight coming down the stretch, especially with Vernon making a few putts and really putting up a fight over the closing holes.

"I played great tee to green all week and knowing you can't take anything for granted here at Hamilton Island, I am pretty happy to walk away with my second win."

As a result, Docking and Sexton-Finck gained exemption to the Australian PGA Championship in December.

Participants who finished third to eighth received an invite to represent Team Australia in the International Challenge on the Gold Coast.

The top-six place winners also won an all-expenses paid trip to China to represent Team Australia in 2016.

In the battle for the Vicar's Shield, Sexton-Finck combined with state compatriot Tristan McCallum to win the shield for Western Australia.

The two combined for a six-round total of 439, three strokes ahead of the New South Wales duo.

It was the first time Western Australians have won the shield since 2004.


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