Birdie blitz on the greens at Byron Bay
VICTORIAN Mike Harwood has won the Australian Legends Tour Championship at the Byron Bay Golf Club for the second time in its 12-year history.
Harwood secured the win with a final-round seven-under-par 65 for a nine-under-par total and a two-shot win over Richard Backwell, who had won the $14,000 Lismore event last Wednesday.
Heading into the back nine, Harwood was well in the mix, turning at three under, one shot off the lead held by David Diaz and Tim Elliott.
Four consecutive birdies starting on the 13th hole gave Harwood a lead which he wouldn't relinquish over the closing stages.
Harwood first won the event in 2010 and yesterday was his fourth win of the season, keeping him in contention to take out the Order of Merit with three events to go on the Legends tour.
"Golf is the sort of game where one day you're a champion and the next day you're a mug,” Harwood said.
"I played really well today and it's always a lot better to tee off in a later group. I find it a lot easier to stay positive when you're not locked in a neck-and-neck battle with the other leaders.”
Harwood was runner-up last year to Lucien Tinkler when it went to the final hole to determine a winner.
The closest golfers to him in the Legends-only round yesterday were Brad Burns and Backwell, who shot two-under par 70.
Harwood is one of a core group who spend most of the year on the Legends Tour.
"I have an opportunity to return to Europe this time of year and compete in Mauritius, but I choose not to go and instead play in Byron because it's such a great event in a beautiful part of the world,” he said.
"One year I was playing exceptionally well and I couldn't not go but you'll find me here next year and many more years to come.”
In the race for the Ladbrokes PGA Legends Tour Order of Merit, Harwood remains third with his win, $6000 behind leader Brad Burns and $2000 behind Tim Elliott.
Players will now move to the Sunshine Coast for the Noosa Legends Pro-Am tomorrow and the Sunshine Coast Masters at Twin Waters and Pelican Waters starting on Wednesday.