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Paddison cruises to Victorian Open win

New Zealand's Gareth Paddison has won the 2004 Victorian Open at the Woodlands Golf Club, becoming only the second left-hander - after John Davis in 1974 - to do so.

The 23-year-old Kiwi fired a superb final round five-under 67 to finish at minus 12 and triumph by five strokes from fellow left-hander and Victorian Richard Green and New South Welshman Paul Sheehan.

"This win was totally unexpected after I played so poorly at the British Open qualifying earlier in the week," Paddison said.

Dressed in the New Zealand sporting all black colours, save for his Mastercard sponsor's logo, he was thrilled with his second pro victory.

"I can't wait to get home to mum and dad and show off the trophy," he enthused. "Melbourne's a fantastic place to play golf, I love it."

With a third consecutive day of mild temperatures and moderate southerly winds, conditions were ideal for last day challenges in the 54-hole Championship. The leading players didn't disappoint with Green the first to make inroads by jumping to six-under after seven holes.

Commencing the day at one-under, the 32-year-old former Victorian Junior Champion immediately birdied the first, and eagled the par-five second to get to four-under. Despite a bogey at the short third after he three-putted, further birdies at the fourth, fifth and seventh holes saw Green momentarily get to within two strokes of the lead.

However Paddison, who appeared exceptionally calm and focused taking the overnight lead into the final round, withstood the challenges with aplomb. He fired birdies at the first, third, fifth and seventh holes to move to 11-under for the Championship and open up an early three-stroke lead over fellow overnight leader Tait and Sheehan, who had also enjoyed solid starts.

"I got off to a hell of a start," he said later. "My short game stood up well under the pressure and I also drove the ball well. My back nine was all about maintaining my form and to birdie the last was an exceptional way to finish."

While Green and Sheehan progressed to seven-under, solid par golf by Paddison over the closing nine kept the challengers at bay.

After a successful amateur career for New Zealand including Eisenhower Cup representation, Paddison turned professional in 2001 and has experienced a steady start in the play for pay ranks with a previous victory in the 2002 Scenic Circle Golf Classic.

"I've got a full card on the Challenge Tour (European development tour) plus a few starts on the main European tour," Paddison of his plans for the remainder of 2004. "I think my game's very close, especially my putting. That was the best feature of my game all week."

In a great tournament for the left-handers, leading amateur honours went to a fellow molly-dooker in Victorian Colts Team member David Walker. Walker returned a final round of 74 for a 54-hole total of even-par 216 to take the amateur title from fellow Kingswood member Andrew Tampion by two strokes.

First played in 1957, Paddison's name now joins the likes of Peter Thomson, Gary Player, Bruce Devlin, Kel Nagle, David Graham, Greg Norman, Robert Allenby and Stephen Leaney as a winner of one of Australia's premier golf titles.


1 Gareth Paddison NZL 71 66 67 204 -12
T2 Richard Green VIC 74 69 66 209 -7
Paul Sheehan NSW 69 69 71 209 -7
4 Wayne Perske QLD 71 68 71 210 -6
T5 Shane Tait QLD 70 67 74 211 -5
David Diaz VIC 68 73 70 211 -5
Dean Alaban WA 72 67 72 211 -5
T8 Michael Light VIC 72 67 73 212 -4
Scott Laycock VIC 71 72 69 212 -4
Nathan Green NSW 71 75 66 212 -4
Cameron Percy VIC 68 74 70 212 -4
Andrew Tschudin VIC 71 71 70 212 -4
T13 David Bransdon NSW 72 70 71 213 -3
Adam Le Vesconte QLD 71 70 72 213 -3
15 Ken Druce QLD 70 74 70 214 -2
T16 Euan Walters VIC 73 71 71 215 -1
Michael Curtain VIC 74 70 71 215 -1
David Tapping ENG 72 71 72 215 -1
T19 David Walker (a) VIC 70 72 74 216 0
Kurt Barnes NSW 74 72 70 216 0
Lucien Tinkler VIC 71 72 73 216 0
T22 David McKenzie VIC 70 71 76 217 1
Edward Stedman NSW 72 70 75 217 1
Richard Ball NSW 73 72 72 217 1
Marcus Norgren SWE 77 69 71 217 1
Steven Jeffress NSW 72 72 73 217 1
T27 Leith Wastle VIC 73 74 71 218 2
Andrew Tampion (a) VIC 73 74 71 218 2
Adrian Percey SA 75 71 72 218 2
Michael Wright QLD 73 70 75 218 2
Peter Nolan VIC 72 71 75 218 2
Nigel Spence QLD 70 74 74 218 2
Larry Austin VIC 72 73 73 218 2
Brendon Chant SA 74 73 71 218 2
T35 Jeff Wagner NSW 71 75 73 219 3
Peter Harrington QLD 76 70 73 219 3
Heath Reed VIC 76 68 75 219 3
Steven Krause VIC 71 72 76 219 3
Simon Nash QLD 74 69 76 219 3
Garry Simpson SA 72 75 72 219 3
T41 Brad Lamb VIC 73 74 73 220 4
Stuart Leong VIC 72 74 74 220 4
Jens Nilsson SWE 74 71 75 220 4
Kane Streat (a) VIC 72 73 75 220 4
Richard Backwell QLD 71 74 75 220 4
Sam Egger NSW 76 70 74 220 4
Tony McFadyean WA 77 69 74 220 4
Luke Arnott QLD 79 68 73 220 4
Chris Gray WA 66 76 78 220 4
T50 Nick Dastey VIC 74 73 75 222 6
Michael Harwood VIC 72 75 75 222 6
Lucas Main AUS 75 71 76 222 6
Brad McIntosh NSW 77 70 75 222 6
Tim Elliott VIC 71 73 78 222 6
55 John Sutherland VIC 70 73 80 223 7
T56 Marc Leishman (a) VIC 75 71 78 224 8
Ryan Haller QLD 69 76 79 224 8
Michael Brennan NSW 76 71 77 224 8
59 Tim Dugdale (a) VIC 75 71 79 225 9
60 Marcus Cain QLD 74 73 83 230 14

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