Gympie's Dann secures prestigious amateur golf title
WHEN all hope looked lost for former Gympie golfer Charlie Dann at Royal Melbourne on Saturday afternoon, the 23-year-old showed maturity beyond his golfing years.
The Pelican Waters member sealed the biggest win of his career in sudden-death against Victorian Zach Murray to claim the prestigious Australian Master of the Amateurs title.
But for three holes on the back nine, things were bleak for the golfer who now looks destined to crack the world's top-100 amateurs.
Disaster struck on the 13th, when Dann made his second double-bogey of the round, and backed it up with bogeys at 14 and 15.
After holding a five-stroke lead ahead of the fourth round, he found himself tied with Murray and needed to at least par the last three holes to force a playoff.
Did he ever despair?
"I didn't,” he said.
"I never do on the golf course; I learned that growing up but I didn't have as much confidence in myself as I should've.”
It is this new found confidence that Dann said had contributed to his hot run of form over the last couple of months.
"It (my form) has been consistent over the last six months,” he said.
"I am still trying to pick it, it's definitely mental.”
Dann regained his composure to par the final three holes and went back down the 18th with Murray.
"I was surprisingly a little bit relaxed ... I was ready to win at that point,” Dann said.
"I had so much going through my head earlier in the day and it had sort of cleared up a little bit.
"I had two great six irons into the 18th that were 12-15ft each time.
"They were clutch shots to hit where I wanted to at the right time.”
It's fair to say you wouldn't have found a happier bloke in Australia on Saturday evening.
"I'm feeling very tired, but very happy,” he said.
"I walked off the 18th green with the biggest smile on my face.”
The amateur star also fulfilled a boyhood dream off the course, securing a sponsorship deal with industry heavyweight Titleist.
"Six years ago if you told me I would have a deal like this I would have said you're kidding.”
Dann's latest success is paving the way to a long anticipated professional debut and if the scenes in Melbourne were anything to go by, he is showing he has the skills to deal with the pressure.
After his win he was swamped by waiting media and the phone has been running hot since.
"By the time I got off the golf course and finished the media stuff ... I left the club at 10.30pm and was asleep by 11.30pm,” Dann said.
"I was absolutely buggered,” he said.
Now his thoughts have turned to this week's Australian Amateur at Yarra Yarra Golf Club.
"It's another similarly big event and a different format... the first two rounds is about setting yourself up for match-play and getting in the right mindset to win matches against the toughest competition in the country,” he said.
However, Dann's hectic start to 2017 will continue when he takes on the best professional golfers from around the world at the Victorian Open in early February.
The former James Nash State School student is hoping for a solid showing.
"I will gain a heap of confidence if I can play a professional event well,” he said.