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Brett Rumford
Rumford back to earth after big win
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Australian amateur program bears fruit

Rumford back to earth after big win

A flat, tired Brett Rumford stuggled today to an unspectacular 75 in an amateur event in country Victoria, far removed from the play-off drama of the thrilling ANZ Players Championship.

Rumford followed national amateur teammate Aaron Baddeley into the record books at Royal Queensland yesterday, beating Victorian Craig Spence on the fourth hole of their sudden-death play-off.

He revealed today he had deliberately used a three iron each time in the play-off to avoid a section of relaid fairway 230 metres off the tee.

"There wasn't any advantage going with the driver because of the risk of getting a bad lie and being downwind it was hard to stop the ball on the green," said Rumford.

Spence opted to crank his driver out each time, watching his approach shots bound through the back of the green three times.

Rumford didn't have much time to celebrate his amazing victory, achieved with a 10-metre birdie putt which just crept into the cup.

He didn't even have time to catch up with media coverage his gripping play-off shootout generated across the country today.

"I heard I was on the back page of the West Australian newspaper," said the slightly built 22-year-old Perth amateur.

Rumford stepped off a plane in Melbourne at 12.30am today.

He grabbed a few hours sleep and jumped in a car for a two-hour drive to The Dunes on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula to tee off at 9.21am.

It was typical of his total commitment to golf.

The Australian Golf Union would almost certainly have understood had he asked for an exemption from this week's Dunes Medal, even though it is a national selection trial.

"It was a tired 75," said Rumford, disappointed he didn't take the opportunity to savour his biggest golfing thrill.

"I made a mistake after the win. I was very excited. I wanted to celebrate but I couldn't.

"I felt extremely flat today after being on such a high yesterday. I really would have liked to have been able to enjoy the moment more."

Organisers of January's $1.6 million Heinekin Classic at The Vines did their best to put the smile back on Rumford's face today, inviting him to join Ernie Els, Baddeley and co in his home town event.

Meanwhile the AGU was still basking in his glory today a week after soaking up the media hysteria which accompanied Baddeley's history-making Open triumph.

President Len Rae said today he believed Baddeley's effort was "the biggest story in the history of Australian golf"

If anything, Rumford's win yesterday gave him more pleasure because he said it showed amateur golf was not resting on one player's efforts.

"I reckon outside Greg Norman and Steve Elkington, Aaron Baddeley would have to be the most sought after player in Australian," said Rae.

"Mind you, it's not that difficult to see that he's going to have one hell of a rivalry with Brett Rumford."