Golf: Townsend tops class at Q School to retain Australasian tour card

TOP OF THE CLASS: Aaron Townsend finished the year on a high with victory at the n Tour School at Moonah Links on Friday. Picture: Simone De PeakAARON Townsend ended a difficult year with victory in the Australasian Qualifying School tournament at Moonah Links Golf Course on Friday in what the Parramatta-based Novocastrian hopes is a sign of things to come.

Townsend fired a final-round three-under par 69 to finish at 16 under, a stroke ahead of JordanMullaney.

The pair were locked at 15-under before Townsend made birdie at the 17thto take control.

The 36-year-old collected $5,000 for the win and aguaranteed a start in every Australasian event next year.

“It means I ama fully-exempt player,” Townsend said. “It is nice to have my card back and get a bit of confidence out of playing well. Hopefully this is a sign of things turning around and I can forget about last season and move on to 2018.”

Nick Flanagan (64-74-72-73) was next best of the Novocastrians at five under and a tie for sixth. Nathan Green (73-76-72-71) was at four over and 33rdand Leigh McKechnie (72-78-73-73) finished equal 49th.

The top 40 players retained their playing cards.

Townsend took a one-stroke advantage into the final round.

However, Mullaney picked up strokes at the second and fourth holes to turn one in front.

“Thankfully I made a few birdies on the back nine,” Townsend said. “The putter was definitely the best club in my bag today. That can be the difference some times.I holed a 10-foot putt for par on nine which was a nice putt to make. I turned even and it kept a bit of momentum going. I made a really good putt for birdie at 10 and birdied 12.”