Brett Rankin shows off his trophy in Darwin. Photo: PGA of Australia
It is the breakthrough that Brett Rankin wanted so badly.
After years of failing to reach the level he knew he could, Rankin feared that his rivals had doubted his value during the murderous Australasian Tour.
Those fears disappeared in a final day of dominance in which the Queenslander claimed the Tailor-made Building Services NT PGA Championship.
Rankin finally feels at home with the professionals.
“Today was a dream. I just played so well. It's just so good to cross the line, "said an emotional Rankin.
"I've been working so hard lately. I'm just always known as a pro-am player and I never get it done in the Tour scenes. It's just so good to get it done.
“I was desperate to win the weekend. I have the feeling that I have played very well in recent years and do not really get as much as I would like from the game.
“Making that move from pro-am golf to Tour golf and playing and playing for four days as I know I can play. I know I've been good enough, but it was just a matter of getting it done. "
During the weekend, the 32-year-old shot 65, 68, 68 and a record equal to 63 to score 20 under par – three battles free from Taylor Macdonald (17 under) and amateur Lawry Flynn (16 under) to claim his girl Tour title .
The victory gives Rankin complete exemption for the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour through Australasia until the end of the 2020 season.
“I was so hungry for the victory. It was the victory I had been hunting for so long, "he said.
Rankin started with a bang, hit a bird on the first hole and then followed it up with an eagle and another bird.
He quickly jumped leader overnight leader Andrew Martin – who dropped to the sixth after a 1-over par round on Sunday (14 under) – and his lead consolidated through the eighth hole.
Rankin kept the door ajar for the young pistol Kade McBride and Adam Burdett with a bogey with 12 holes. But the hiccups only urged the veteran, who bounced back with four birds over the next five holes to give him an insurmountable advantage approaching the 18th green.
“I became warm towards the end. I knew I had a strong lead and I was hungry to expand it, "he said.
"To reach the final hole with a handy five-shot lead made it so much easier to fight the swirly breeze.
“The last putt was easy. I gave myself the opportunity to impose it with a nice tap-in. It was an incredible moment. "
When asked how much the victory meant to him, a tearing Rankin acknowledged the support of his father.
"I know my dad will cry," he said.
Flynn, from Queensland, was the highest placed amateur in the star-studded field and finished third with 16 under par.
“I was so happy to be with the penultimate group that came in the last day. It is something new for me. I have never experienced anything like this during a professional event, "Flynn said.
“I felt the pressure, but I was unable to let it affect the track. I made the right shots in the right situations, including a birdie on the 18th. "
Runner-up Macdonald was delighted with his 5-round round – his best performance of the four-day tournament – to give him his best place in his career.
“It feels pretty good. I'm pretty emotional. It was a difficult road, "Macdonald said.
“I played really well. I like to come to Palmerston. If you play well, you can make some pretty competitive scores.
“Brett played very well in the pro-ams. I tried to chase him, but he was too far ahead. It was a deserved win. "