Brody Ninyette (Getty Images)
Brody Ninyette displayed few signs of nerves as he extended his lead during the final round of the ISPS HANDA Perth International.
The Western Australia native plays most of his golf on the co-sanctioning PGA Tour of Australasia, and admitted after taking a one shot lead on day three that the European Tour exemption victory here brings would be “massive”.
That pressure did not prevent Ninyette surging three clear at Lake Karrinyup, with birdies from three feet at the first and 25 feet at the fourth taking him to ten under par.
Local favourite Brett Rumford and Korea’s former World Amateur Number One Jin Jeong had been joined on seven under by English pair Danny Willett and Ross Fisher as the chasing pack desperately tried to cling on to Ninyette’s coattails.
Fisher had pitched to three feet at the first and holed from 12 feet at the third for birdies, although he did hand a shot back at the fifth, while his compatriot Willett birdied the long third and followed that with a tap-in effort at the next following a fine approach.
Rumford has already won back-to-back titles in the Far East this season, but insisted winning in his native Perth would be “the cream of the year” before teeing off.
Jeong dropped two shots at the first, but a 12 foot birdie at the fourth and eight footer at the next kept him in the hunt.
While the title race was hotting up nicely, those outside the top 110 on The Race to Dubai were running out of time to secure the future, with this the last counting event for retaining playing cards.
Ireland’s Peter Lawrie started the day 114th but played his first 12 holes in five under and appeared to be doing enough as he moved into a share of sixth.
Ninyette splashed out a greenside bunker to two feet at the long 11th for a birdie, but gave it back two holes later after a wayward drive.
As a result he was only one clear of Fisher, Willett and Jeong entering the closing stretch.