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David McKenzie wins Victorian PGA C'ship
16:44 AEST Sun Jan 20 2013

Veteran David McKenzie proved he can win from the front, shooting a closing round of 70 to win the Victorian PGA Championship by two shots at the Forest Resort at Creswick, near Ballarat.

McKenzie finished at 13 under par to beat another veteran Scott Laycock, who rallied late to post a four-under-par 68 and finish outright second.

Matthew Griffin was paired in the final group with McKenzie but was unable to produce any fireworks and ended up in fourth place at seven under, one shot behind Perth's Stephen Dartnall.

Rounding out the top five at six under was Victorian John Wade, who was on self-imposed exile from tour golf but recently returned and is gradually rediscovering some decent form.

Rookie Queensland pro Daniel Nisbet and Canberra's Matthew Millar both shot 68 on the last day to tie for sixth.

McKenzie was expected to claim the prestigious title after shooting a third round 65 to set up a four-stroke cushion heading into the final 18 holes.

Still it was never a sure thing on the unforgiving par-72 course that gobbles up stray shots in a heart beat.

McKenzie stumbled with two early bogeys but bounced back immediately with three consecutive birdies.

And when the 45-year-old journeyman made another nice birdie putt on the sharply sloping ninth green, his lead had been extended to five shots with just the back nine to complete.

No-one could mount the sort of challenge needed to pressure the frontrunner whose career has taken him all over the world and spanned more that two decades.

Late birdies to Laycock on the 16th and 17th holes reduced the final margin to two.

"It's been hard work for a while," said McKenzie.

"It's been a long time (coming). I never placed enormous importance on it but having said that I actually lost a Victorian PGA by missing a short putt about 20 years ago, so it's nice to actually win."

McKenzie also took time to thank the late golf physiotherapist Ramsay McMaster.

"He was one of my biggest supporters. And most people, when you're doing badly, they will stay away and not say anything.

"He'd call at three in the morning just to give me a rev up and just to say to keep going in only a way that Ramsay knows how.

"He was pretty cool, and the way that it (the death) happened was the worst part of it. It has taken me a long time to get over it."