A BIRDIE on the final hole was enough to secure Darren Beck his first Port Macquarie Pro Am tournament win in nearly a decade on Wednesday.
His one-shot victory over Rick Kulacz was his second at Port Macquarie Golf Course overall and enabled him to go one better than his second-place finish last year.
"It's always nice to finish with a birdie to win the tournament outright," Beck said.
He overcame blustery conditions on day one to shoot rounds of 69 and 67 to finish six under par with Peter Lonard and James Nitties tied three shots further back in a tie for third.
"I tried to be a bit aggressive on hole 17 and make birdie but I was a bit too aggressive and made bogey," Beck said.
The 2018 runner-up and Kulacz were all square heading to the 18th tee before Beck kept his composure with a three-foot putt to secure birdie and victory.
"I thought I hit a good tee shot (on the 18th) which clipped the trees on the right hand side," Beck said.
It was three feet from the flag so it was a huge relief to walk up there and see it that close and hold the putt.Darren Beck
"I got down there and had to hit a really hard cut shot around the trees so I was hoping to get it on the green to give myself a chance of birdie knowing I had to birdie to win.
"It was three feet from the flag so it was a huge relief to walk up there and see it that close and hold the putt."
It wasn't always smooth sailing for the 41-year-old who overcame a shaky start where he bogeyed the first hole on day two.
He recovered on holes seven, eight, nine and 10 to calm the nerves.
"I had four birdies in a row so I started feeling a bit more comfortable and we knew where we were standing," he said.
"I played really well in the wind on the first day and didn't play as well on the second day, but I didn't get myself in too much trouble and the key to golf is limit your mistakes.
"If you're going to miss, miss it on the right side of the green so you're not giving yourself too much work to do."
Beck admitted his tactics of playing conservatively ended up paying dividends.
"The wind took a lot of guys out and a lot of the cream came to the top on the first day," he said.
"I played the course the same as I did last year - conservatively - and it's one of those courses you don't need to overpower.
"I took a lot of irons and three woods and it's a matter of hitting fairways and hitting greens because the way the greens were running was exceptionally fast.
"You have to keep the ball below the pin."
He said he always enjoyed playing at the Port Macquarie layout.
"It's one of those golf courses that I really enjoy and it's a credit to the course and the greenkeepers getting the course in such a great condition."
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