Aaron Pike has clinched the inaugural TPS Hunter Valley in a thrilling finale at Cypress Lakes Golf & Country Club.
An enthralling final day saw the lead change hands on a number of occasions but it was always Pike and New Zealand’s Momoka Kobori in the top two positions, ultimately finishing tied at eight-under and three clear of the rest of the field.
Kobori had a short putt of no more than three feet at the 72nd hole that would have secured the title, Pike’s clutch par in the group behind sending the pair back to the 18th hole for a sudden-death playoff.
Both failed to find the fairway with their tee shots yet Pike threaded a brilliant approach around a tree to just 12 feet behind the hole as Kobori found the front edge.
Pike’s birdie try just missed on the low side and when Kobori holed out from four feet the playoff went to a second hole.
Both found the fairway at their second attempt and traded pars once again, Pike two-putting from the front edge as Kobori’s birdie attempt stayed on the high side of the hole.
But it was Pike’s laser-like approach to two feet at the third extra hole that earned the 36-year-old the title.
“I didn’t feel like I was doing much wrong, to be honest,” the Darwin local said after the victory.
“This golf course doesn’t give its shots up easy, so I knew someone in front of me might be playing well but they’re not going to be seven or eight-under through 10 holes.
“I couldn’t believe [Kobori] was four-under through nine. I don’t know what golf course she was playing. She’s obviously playing like a gun at the moment.
“It’s a matter of time until she wins, not if.”
The TPS Junior Players Series Hunter Valley also went extra holes, Newcastle’s Ella Scaysbrook winning at the second playoff hole.