19 Feb 2024

Media Release:

The predicted head-to-head battle for the Webex Players Series Hunter Valley eventuated on Sunday, with a three-way tussle eventually seeing Daniel Gale triumph after holing a curling birdie putt at the 72nd on Sunday.

The 27-year-old reaching 19-under-par to edge out amateur Phoenix Campbell by one shot, with Kazuma Kobori in third alone another shot back.

Gale’s win his second of the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia season and first in front of his parents.

“It is, they’re over there. Mum’s in tears, poor thing,” Gale said when asked if this win was extra special.

“I had a couple of buddies come up for the weekend, which is even more special because they’ve seen numerous times how good I can actually play. And to get the win in front of them as well, it’s awesome.”

Once again bogeying the 1st hole as he did in round three, Gale got the shot back at the next, with Campbell also level par as the pair reached the 6th hole and the Victorian’s two-shot advantage still intact.
Gale finding his moment to apply pressure on Campbell, with four straight birdies to close the front nine and a one shot lead after Campbell made bogey from the right trees at 9.

Things turned back in the Victorian’s favour after a remarkable second shot almost along the ground and barely missing on course commentator Paul Gow found the 10th green, with Gale making bogey at the next to Campbell’s birdie to switch places on the leaderboard.

Gale’s four coming after a heavy handed chip from the fringe that failed to stay on the putting surface at the same hole where Kobori’s charge for a fourth straight Webex Players Series title truly began.

Holing a chip from long of the 11th green, the New Zealander then holed a long left-to-right putt almost the length of the 12th green, then another at 13 to have chatter spread throughout the course.

Sitting on 17-under with five holes to play and needing more birdies, unlike the rest of 2024, Kobori failing to capitalise on his chances, with putts going close at 17 and 18 to ultimately leave him two short.

“I think I’ve used my fair share of putts, think that’s what happened. I was hitting good putts they just didn’t quite drop,” Kobori said.

Through that same stretch, it looked as if Gale’s charge might also hit a hurdle, with another bogey at 13. His five matched by Campbell, a play-off seemingly inevitable.

Campbell paring his way to the clubhouse, with Gale drawing level with a wedge to tap-in range at the par-5 16th, before his wedge and subsequent putt from 10 feet at 18 secured the win.

“I feel like those bogeys down the stretch, they hurt because I hit such good shots. And Phoenix was just rock solid, not letting anyone in,” Gale said.

“Then just hit a clutch wedge shot in there at 16 to draw level, then I thought my one into 17 was going to be good, but I think it just dug a little in the ground and didn’t fly that ridge.

“Then I had just the perfect number, obviously in the rough, which actually helped, because the greens were spinning. It was the perfect number, it came off perfect.”

Living up to Gale’s assessment of “rock solid” in the closing stages, QLD PGA winner Campbell left disappointed but also optimistic.

“To be leading 71 holes of 72 is pretty incredible for me, and to hold my nerve there towards the end … I got a lot out of this week,” Campbell said.

“I think coming second is probably the best thing that could have happened to me as well, I think it is just going to drive me to get better and keep growing. I am only looking up from here, it’s just the beginning of the journey.”

Also looking at his journey, Gale now has the DP World Tour in his sights, with a jump on the Order of Merit potentially putting one of the three cards in reach.

“The ultimate end goal is to win, I’ve set goals numerous times in the past and plans change and all that. I just want to go out there and play golf and wherever it leaves me at the end of the season, it leaves me.”

Kobori’s hot run home also helping his Order of Merit aspirations, while Elvis Smylie finished one back of the Kiwi in fourth on 14-under, with Jeffrey Guan a shot further back and one in front of Kotono Fuyaka and amateur Justice Bosio.

Earlier in the day Garth Allen claimed his first All Abilities win with a seven-over 77 giving him a two shot win over Wayne Perske.

“It feels great and I’m a local boy, so coming from Hawks Nest about an hour away and winning here, is exciting for me,” Allen said.

Meanwhile Zoe Arcus claimed Junior honours via a play-off with Jesse Linden after the pair were tied on three-over.

“It was really exciting, I was so nervous over the putt,” the 16-year-old said.


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Photo: PGA of Australasia



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