DANIEL Gauntâ€™s incredible year has continued after he finished higher than Tiger Woods in a recent competition.
Australian Gaunt began the season with victory at Wensum Valley in the opening EuroPro Tour event and has already secured a European Tour Card for 2011 after impressing on the Challenge Tour.
He has now also pocketed another $101,250 Australian Dollars (about Â£62,465) for finishing third, one place ahead of Woods, in the JBWere Masters on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
The event was staged at the Victoria Golf Club and a sponsorâ€™s invite gave Gaunt a rare opportunity to play in his homeland.
“It was great to be back at my home golf course,â€ said Gaunt. â€œIt had changed a little bit but it’s amazing how quick things come back to you and I class it as one of the best golf courses in the world.
“I played the course similar to the way I used to play it. The wind conditions out there changed quite quickly and if you are used to that and playing all the time, it makes it a lot easier.”
Gaunt, 31, grew up in Melbourne but has lived in London for the last ten years and has played less than five times in Australia in that period.
“I had my card (in Australia) when I was 20 and I lost it and I basically went to the UK and I’ve been there for ten years,” added Gaunt.
He has admitted he nearly quit the game 18 months ago but the victory at Wensum Valley gave him the confidence he needed.
That triggered an amazing run of form that saw him stay at the top of the EPT Order of Merit, then win the English Challenge on the Challenge Tour and then finish tenth in their money list to gain promotion to the main European Tour.
Gaunt added: “I gave myself a two-year plan at the start of the year to play in the EuroPro and the plan was to finish top five on that and get on to the Challenge Tour for next year. But luckily I got an invite on to the Challenge Tour and won, so it’s snowballed along and got full status for next year on the European Tour.
â€œIMG gave me the invite to compete at the JBWere Masters, so it’s a big thank you to them for giving me that. I wouldn’t have taken it up if I didn’t think I could win.â€
Gaunt made a fantastic start and was the joint leader after the first round with a score of 65, six-under-par.
Scores of 72 and 68 followed in the second and third rounds respectively as Gaunt started the last day three shots behind leader Adam Bland.
A double bogey at the sixth was a poor start to Gauntâ€™s final round but birdies at the seventh, ninth, tenth and 13th saw him move into the lead.
However, he could not hold on as a double bogey at the 178-metre par-three 16th proved costly as Stuart Appleby, who finished strongly with a flawless final round, swept ahead to take the title.
Bland finished one shot behind Appleby with Gaunt a further shot back with ex-World number one Woods in fourth, one shot behind Gaunt.