Paul Donahoo may have been unknown to many of the Australian golfing community but today be stamped his name into Von Nida Tour history by winning the 2007 North QLD X-Ray Services Cairns Classic in a dramatic playoff.
After starting the day two shots behind overnight leader David Bransdon, Donahoo attacked the course from the beginning with birdies at the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th to make the turn at 9 under par for the tournament. Bransdon got off to a horror start making double bogey on the first and bogey on the second to slip out of contention early on day four.
Donahoo’s playing partner Steven Jones was 4 behind on the 9th tee in the final round and it was looking like Donahoo may be a runaway winner. Jones though started his run on that hole making eagle an three on the par five 9th to go with birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th to get to 10 under par and steal the outright lead with six holes to play.
The finishing holes at Paradise Palms are some of the toughest in the country with 4 of the last 5 hole averaging more than half a shot over par for the tournament (refer to www.cairnsclassic.com.au for more statistics) Donahoo got through the tough stretch blemish free and made a birdie on the 17th hole to get to 10 under par with one hole to play. Both players made par down the last hole to force a playoff, the first in Cairns Classic history.
Both players drove it in great positions in the playoff hole but a fantastic wedge by Donahoo to about 10 feet from the hole put the pressure on Jones. Jones also hit a great shot that finished just outside Donahoo but unfortunately he couldn’t convert the birdie opportunity leaving the stage set for Donahoo to hole his for the title. Hundreds of people lined the green to witness the putt for birdie and as it fell in the front edge they erupted congratulating Paul Donahoo as the 2007 Cairns Classic champion.
“I can’t explain how much this victory means to me and to do so tie the course record in doing so, is something I will remember for the rest of my life.” Donahoo mentioned in his acceptance speech.
Jones on the other hand had mixed emotions. “I thought at the start of the day 10 under would be the mark and I had to shoot 67 to get there and when I did that and still didn’t come home with a win, it is a little difficult to take. Paul is a good mate of mine though and if I was going to finish second to anyone, Paul would be who I would choose and I hope he continues the form into next week”
The Von Nida Tour moves to the QLD Open next week at the spectacular Gainsborough Greens Golf Club on the Gold Coast. With Adam Scott making an appearance on Pro-Am day and the event being played for the first time at this amazing venue, the tournament once again will be one of the highlights of the entire 2007 Von Nida Tour