GOLF: Brisbane-based pro golfer Brett Rankin came within inches of claiming a triple crown of Yamba Pro-Am victories but instead had to settle for third place as Ryan Haller came from behind on the second day to clinch victory.
Rankin was in cruise control at the Yamba Golf and Country Club links as the clubhouse leader at seven under on day one. He was soon joined on that number by Adam Stephens.
Haller finished the first day one stroke off the joint leaders. It could have been a different story for the Queensland golfer, with a cold putter relegating him to third. Haller missed six putts from inside the eight foot mark to have him just off the pace.
But Haller made his move on the overnight leaders early on day two in what turned into a final round shoot-out between the leading three professionals, and they did not disappoint local golf fans.
Haller opened the second day with a birdie, but a bogey at his second last hole left the door ajar for both Stephens and Rankin.
It came down to the 18th and a birdie on the last was enough to secure the win for Haller by two shots over Stephens.
For the professional who grew up in the small Queensland town of Ayr, it was a great result to be back among the PGA winners.
"It's great to be back in the winner's circle, especially when I have had all my family supporting me over the past two days," Haller said.
"Yamba is a great spot to bring the family and although I have cut back my schedule this year it's been nice to have them around.
"I thought I'd messed things up making bogey on my second to last hole, so I was pretty relieved when I found out that I had won."
Rankin who found the going easy on the opening day put it down to his love of the Yamba course.
"I am not quite sure what the deal is here at Yamba. I enjoy the layout, it suits my eye and I guess they're the main reasons I play well here each year," he said.
"My results haven't been what I would like over the past few months, but the hard work that I've been putting in is really paying off."
A number of professionals will now make their way to New Caledonia, with the South Pacific Open teeing off tomorrow.
-10: Ryan Haller
-8: Adam Stephens
-7: Brett Rankin
-6: Richard Gallichan, Steven Jones, Troy Cox
-1: Daniel McGraw
E: Alexander Pitty