Manly Golf Club's Taylor Cooper has taken out the Rich River Golf Club's 2014 Trainee Classic.LUKE MCMANUS AND CHRIS RODDA February 10, 2014 4:45am
Second-year trainee Taylor Cooper stormed home at Rich River Golf Club to claim victory at last week’s trainee classic.
Challenging conditions greeted golfers on Friday for the fourth and final round of play, with the heat and wind the only obstacles threatening Cooper and his five-stroke overnight lead.
Cooper withstood challenges from Yarrawonga-Mulwala trainee and former district resident Adam Burdett and Sydney’s Jordan Mullaney to finish with a dominant two-under-par 70 score, ending the tournament eight shots clear at the top of the leaderboard.
With scores of 71, 66, 71 and 70 across the four days, Cooper finished with 10-under the card and $5760 in his pocket, while Burdett (-2) finished one shot ahead of Mullaney (-1).
With a string of birdies on the home stretch Cooper finished at 10 under par for the tournament and clearly deserved to win his first four-round trainee event and goes home with a first place prize-purse of $5760.
Rounding out the top-three were Jordan Mullaney, from New Brighton Golf Club and Burdett, from Yarrawonga-Mulwala Golf Club Resort, who finished the tournament at two-under and one-under respectively.
Former Rich River golfer Burdett said he was ‘‘pretty happy’’ with how the tournament went.
‘‘There wasn’t really much to complain about.
‘‘My ball striking was there the whole week. It was the putting that let me down. I just couldn’t get it in the hole.
Speed control was the issue.
‘‘The greens were a lot harder and faster than I’m used to playing on and I didn’t adapt to it that well.’’
He said the take-home lesson was to be patient.
‘‘Learning to play at training level is totally different to amateur golf.
‘‘Everyone’s playing for the money. In amateur golf you’re just playing for averages.’’
‘‘You put all that behind you and focus on what you’re there for.
‘‘You’re there to play for you club and do your best for the club.’’
Another district export, Aaron Coates, who finished equal fourth (+1), said he enjoyed playing in a group with Cooper on the last day.
‘‘He’s a great player.’’
‘‘It was a great experience. I learnt a lot of things about my game,’’ he said of the tournament.
‘‘Over 72 holes you certainly learn a few things about your game figure out your weaknesses.
Leading after the first round he fell two shots behind Cooper then five the next day thanks to some ‘‘loose’’ shots.
‘‘Other days I hadn’t hit shots like that and they cost me dearly.’’
Coates said the heat and the intensity of the competition could have contributed to his end result.
‘‘The first time going around playing for that sort of money makes it a little bit different.
‘‘The biggest lesson is just making the right decisions. Coates said trying to catch up on the last day led to mistakes.
‘‘I probably changed my game plan on Friday and it probably cost me three or four shots.
‘‘I putted pretty ordinary on the Friday. Those are the things you’ve got to go back and look and say This is what I did wrong. I wont do that again.’’
In 2015, PGA trainees will again look forward to returning to the Rich River Resort, with the total prize-money for the event increasing to $34,000.
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