A big pay cheque from a tournament win in Rockhampton will help keep Katoomba golfer Troy Cox on track to fulfil his long-term dream to play on the US tour.
The money - nearly $10,000 - will help fund a trip to China next year, where he hopes to qualify for that country's PGA tour.
It's potentially a "back door" way into the United States tour, he said.
Cox started playing golf at the age of seven, accompanying his dad, Bill, around Leura golf course. He was a fast learner: by the time he was nine he was out-playing Bill, who decided to quit the game and instead support his son from the spectator gallery.
The Katoomba High graduate later worked as a greenkeeper at Leura, before turning pro. He is in his third year on the circuit.
Cox took a two-shot lead into the final round of the Rockhampton Pro-Am 10 days ago, but nearly blew it, with bogies at the second and third holes. But on the fifth, he holed a shot out of the bunker to save par and get his round back on track.
His final score of 15 under was two shots ahead of his playing partner, Daniel Nisbet.
"I'd been playing well for a few weeks and I enjoy the course," he said. "I've played it before and came third so it just suits my game."
He said the bunker shot came at a critical moment in his round and he felt "instant relief" when the ball dropped into the hole.
The 31-year-old still calls Katoomba home but is spending more and more time on the road. When the Gazette spoke to him he was preparing to tee off in another tournament on the Sunshine tour, this time in Yeppoon. He was also happy to be staying with friends in town, rather than in yet another hotel room.
"You do get used to living out of a suitcase but the novelty wears off pretty quickly," he said. "Staying with friends makes it a lot more comfortable."
Unfortunately, his hot form didn't continue over last weekend and he finished equal 28th in the Capricorn Classic in Yeppoon.