Payday joy for former amateur

ROBERT Dinwiddie, who as an amateur became the only golfer to hold the English, Scottish and Welsh amateur strokeplay titles at the same time, flagged up a personal milestone in Melbourne yesterday.

ROBERT Dinwiddie, who as an amateur became the only golfer to hold the English, Scottish and Welsh amateur strokeplay titles at the same time, flagged up a personal milestone in Melbourne yesterday.

The 24-year-old ex-Walker Cup man collected his first cheque as a European Tour player in his second event since winning his card, the MasterCard Masters at the Huntingdale Golf Club.

A former US college star who went to Tennessee State, Dinwiddie, from Barnard Castle, earned his card by becoming the first man in seven years to win two Challenge Tour titles in a row this summer.

After a four-under 68 in the third round on Saturday, Dinwiddie had hopes of a big payday. He recorded an eagle two at the 347-yard 13th – plus six birdies and four bogeys – to lie tied for 25th and finished strongly at four under for the last six holes.

Yesterday he shot 72 to end in a seven-way tie for 30th on a three-under 285 and earn almost £4,000, enough to put him 90th in the 2008 Order of Merit.

Home favourite Aaron Baddeley, who learned golf at the Huntingdale course, won the tournament after a sudden-death play-off win over Sweden’s Daniel Chopra.

Baddeley recovered from heavy rough at the fourth attempt to separate the pair to par the 18th, while Chopra’s five-foot par putt slid wide to give the 26-year-old Australian the Gold Jacket.

Both players finished on a 13-under 275 in the tournament’s second year as a co-sanctioned event between The European Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia.

Baddeley had carded a closing two-under 70. Overnight leader Chopra a 71.

Australia’s Stuart Appleby, who had led until the final hole, double bogeyed the 18th for 69 and dropped to third on 277.

Irish prospect Rory McIlroy, a contender after a second round 69, carded 70 and 73 to tie 15th on 282.

Winner Baddeley said: “In the play-off I felt like I was swinging the club well. I just kept hitting the same shots and felt I’d wear him down.

“Every play-off hole I had the chance to win and it was Dan who was saving it but I had to scrap to win that final play-off hole.’’

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