Veteran Kiwi professional golfer Michael Long won the fifth title of his career when the won on the Australasian PGA Tour for his second Western Australasian PGA Championship.
He is soon to turn 50, so the win comes at a welcome time. He won by one stroke on the heels of an eight-under par 64 at Kalgoorlie Golf Course. He won for the first time in 2008. Dare we say that Long’s victory was a him time coming?
His previous last win came in 2016 in the Victorian Open.
Long was at one time a player on the US PGA Tour, so he has some talent, to say the least. He was never a constant fixture on the world’s top competition. His best year would have been 2005, when he played in 26 events and made 11 cuts. He made 27 starts in 2002 and between those and three other attempts in earlier years, had three top-25 finishes and won just under $US 350,000 from his total 56 starts.
The victory in the WA PGA came along with $20,000 in prizemoney, but equally as, if not more important, earned Long an exemption from qualifying on the PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of the 2019 season.
Long was five off the pace at the beginning of the final round. Local WA golfer Brody Martin started the day with a two-shot cushion, but could not match the pace of Long, who carded six birdies on the front nine, and then reeled off four birdies in a row on the back nine to move his four-round aggregate to 14-under 274.
Martin could must nothing better than a 70 on the final day to secure second, followed by Tasmania’s Simon Hawkes and Jake Higginbottom of New South Wales.
Another Kiwi golfer in the event, James Anstiss, tied for 17th position on four-under par. He was the best-placed Kiwi behind Long.