CLAYTON Small exceeded his own expectations when he claimed the 2018 Seaside Classic in Port Macquarie.
The 18-year-old from Maitland benefited from Jay McKenzie’s misfortune over the final two holes to win the event by a shot.
McKenzie bogeyed the final two holes as Small took out his first senior title with rounds of 73 and 72 to finish three over par across the 36 holes.
In his first trip to Port Macquarie, Small admitted he would have been happy with a top-10 finish.
“I was looking to be in the top 10 for the first time playing there, but the win is even better,” Small said.
“I was going to go last year because I knew it was a big tournament but this year we had nothing on so I said I’d go and give it a crack.”
Small’s one-shot victory was his first success since he took out the Goulburn Junior Masters in November last year.
“It’s the biggest one I’ve won apart from club championships back at Maitland,” he said.
The teenager admitted the Port Macquarie course layout was a challenge with cross winds, fast greens and pin positions providing plenty of questions.
“The course was good, the greens were probably some of the hardest I’ve played on with the pin positions they had, but other than that it was a good course,” he said.
“The wind played a bit of a factor as well.”
Small surged home over the final nine holes to win the event.
“When we played the 17th I knew I was in front by one,” Small said.
“The bloke who came second had a tough up and down time then I didn’t know what happened until after I putted it out.
“I got told when I got to the green that I had two putts to win.”
Small admitted he struck the ball and putted better on the second day.
“Sunday was the best I’ve putted and I had six putts through the first six holes which helped,” he said.
The Maitland Golf Club member admitted he would be back to defend his title next year.
McKenzie finished in second spot ahead of Zachary Mullins from New South Wales Golf Club in Sydney who finished third.