Australia’s Steven Jeffress has won the inaugural Fiji International golf tournament for a winner’s cheque of $204,000, the biggest of his career.
Queenslander Steven Jeffress claimed the biggest cheque of his 15-year career when he overcame brutal winds to win the inaugural Fiji International golf tournament by four strokes.
The 38-year-old journeyman shot a closing two-under-par 70 on Sunday for a winning total of 10-under in the Australasian PGA Tour and OneAsia Tour event.
He was the only player to shoot sub-par for all four rounds on the demanding Natadola Bay championship course.
Australians also filled the next three placings, with 20-year-old Jake Higginbottom second after a 74 and Terry Pilkadaris (71) and Andrew Dodt (76) tied for third, eight strokes behind the winner.
Jeffress birdied three of his last four holes to clinch the impressive victory and earn $A204,000 in prize money.
He also enjoyed the unusual distinction of hitting both the very first shot of the tournament and the last.
“I’ve done the hard yards out here. I’ve been a pro for a lot of years, so it was nice to hit the first tee shot and the last putt and be the winner,” said Jeffress.
“It was kind of just meant to be in some ways.
“This is the number one win of my career without a doubt and it is special.
“I just hit it in the right places this week.”
The turning point proved to be the par-3 15th, where frontrunners Jeffress and Higginbottom arrived tied on seven-under.
Higginbottom dumped a poor tee shot into a hazard well short of the green and, although he was able to rescue a bogey with a remarkable chip in with his provisional from behind the green, Jeffress made birdie for a two-shot swing.
A bogey on the ensuing hole by Higginbottom virtually handed the title to Jeffress.
Three-time major winner Vijay Singh of Fiji, who designed a course featuring 15 oceanside holes, finished tied for 10th after a 73 Sunday, 12 strokes behind Jeffress.