Captain Kiran Day believes Western Australia will learn the lessons of a tough men’s Interstate Series after close defeats cost them a place in the final at Melville Glades.
WA signed off with a 5-2 reverse against New South Wales that ably reflected a frustrating week when the hosts learnt the importance of being on the right side of the fine margins of matchplay golf.
An enterprising start to the morning had WA dreaming of snatching a final place, when they led in all bit one match at the halfway point, but New South Wales’ class took over as they ensured they would take a perfect record into the afternoon’s final against Victoria.
It was New South Wales’ ability to hold their nerve down the stretch that Day believes separated his side from the finalists, after WA had endured a similar defeat first-up against the Vics.
“There’s definitely not a shortage of talent in our line-up,” the 21-year-old Cottesloe member said.
“When you compare the teams there’s probably a shortage of experience and that shows when push comes to shove.
“It’s all good being up with nine to go, or six to go, but that’s when the best players start to put the heat on you – they’re not just going to roll over.
“We knew we need to bring our best stuff against a team who were playing as well as New South Wales, a team full of good players – I don’t know the stats but I saw on the sheet that we were up in most matches through nine holes.
“The quality teams, when the big-pressure situations come they show that they can close and unfortunately some of us couldn’t close out our matches but we can only learn from experiences like that.”
A fourth-placed finish failed to live up to expectation but when the dust settles on the week WA unearthed some young talent to go with the undoubted class at the top of their order.
Jordan Doull, 18, was only drafted in for his first senior Interstate Series as a late call-up for Fred Lee last week and won four of his six matches while 16-year-old Cooper Geddes claims 3.5 points this week.
Calum Juniper was also impressive winning his first three matches before narrowing losing 1-down against Isaac Noh on Friday morning.
“It’s only promising signs – Cooper is only 16-years-old and Jordan is 18 and (played well) on such late notice,” Day said.
“Actually when I played the first practice round with him (Doull) and I saw him hit the ball I could see he was not out of place in this event.
“To blood someone new like that is amazing for his development and for us.
“He has established himself as a part of the men’s team now and shown the he’s got plenty of game to match it with the best guys in Australia.
“We already knew Cooper was a great player and he’s only going to improve from weeks like this. It’s really good to see.”
Western Australia actually won as many matches as finalists Victoria, to underline their ability, with Hadyn Barron’s five wins the best return while USJunior Amateur champion Min Woo Lee only suffered his first defeat to Harrison Endycott today once hopes of a final place were lost.
Their attention will now turn to matters abroad with tournaments in the UK, including the British Amateur Championship, now top of their agenda.
Day believes those experiences will only help the squad with next year’s Interstate Series to be played at The Grange in Adelaide.
“Most of our top guys (are now heading overseas) – Haydn goes to the UK on Sunday, Fergie is going over and Min Woo and myself,” Day sadi.
“Once you come back and we’ve got guys who have played five British Amateurs between us these experiences become less daunting and you have experience in links golf and all that stuff, it’s only going to help these guys grow.
“It’s amazing that they’re getting to a level where we can go over and compete because in the past it hasn’t been the case, but it’s getting more and more common which is great to see.”
Day expects to be around again next year to play in Adelaide and would welcome the chance to again lead the side after he was voted by his team-mates to take on the captaincy.
“It is a huge honour. I’ve enjoyed having more responsibility,” he said.
“There is some other stuff that comes with it and sometimes you have to tell the boys what is acceptable and what’s not and sometimes that dynamic hasn’t come out before when you are in a friendship environment.
“I’ve found that a little bit different this week, but I’ve really enjoyed having that responsibility and hopefully the boys really enjoyed what I had to say and the leadership aspect of it.
“I’d definitely do it again if the opportunity arose. I enjoyed it a lot.”
On his future, Day added: “I’m going to continue to play amateur golf until at least another 12 months.
“I’ve got a pretty busy schedule – next week I’ve got a professional event and as of June I’m travelling again for some major international events.
“I want to keep doing that and try and break into the top-50 in the world and look to turn professional once I can establish myself as a top amateur in the world.”