School Sport WA, in conjunction with GolfWA, selected 12 & Under and 17 & Under representative teams to take part in the 2017 Pacific School Games in Adelaide last week. It was the first time that golf had been a part of the flagship event for school sport in the southern hemisphere.
The teams had access to some awe-inspiring events throughout the week, from the Olympic Games-style opening ceremony to talks from some of South Australia’s best sportsmen and women.
The golf championships were played across eight venues, including iconic courses The Grange, Glenelg and Kooyonga. Teams from six states and territories took part in the golf championships, which consisted of stroke play, match play (17 & under) and an ambrose event (12 & under).
Jordan Jung was the pick of the WA athletes in the 17 & Under stroke play, tying for the championship at two-under-par at the world-renowned Grange (West course).
A tense playoff, in high winds, followed with New South Welshman Corey Lamb. The first trip down the short 18th resulted in two pars, with both players hitting approach shots within 10ft but could not convert.
The second trip down the 18th proved costly for Jung, who missed a sliding four-foot par putt to ultimately hand Lamb the national schoolboy’s title.
Eve Cohen tied for fifth in the schoolgirls’ championship, with Victorian Year 7 student Jeneath Wong claiming the title. The WA boys claimed the silver medal in the team stroke play while the girls won bronze after some consistent play.
The 12 & under Ambrose event saw some unbelievable scores; incredibly New South Wales boys shot a 13-under-par 59 to claim the title.
The WA boys finished tied sixth at three-under-par which was still extremely respectable given their combined handicap of eight! The WA girls also finished at three-under-par after some accurate play around a challenging Glenelg layout, consisting of 92 bunkers! The girls finished tied seconds and five behind runaway winners Queensland.
The 17 & under match play was played in similar style to the Junior Interstate Series with each state playing each other once battling for the national title. Both teams encountered five tough matches with all states and territories fielding equally strong teams, every round threw up some incredible golf and all WA team members battled from start to finish.
WA had a tough battle with SA first up, with the boys going down 4-2 after an incredible final hole eagle from Frank Vucic against WA number two Reuben Darch.
The girls, on the other hand, beat SA and ACT in the first hand putting them in the box seat going into the final three matches. The boys backed up throughout the week, with wins against ACT, last year’s champions Victoria and perennial challengers Queensland.
The boys again fought hard against New South Wales around a cold West Lakes GC, going down 4–2 with wins from Jung and Thomas Patterson.
The girls battled hard against more experienced opposition, going down in the last three matches to finish fifth behind winners Victoria. The boys clinched their first medal in the golf championships since 2011, claiming bronze behind host state South Australia.
The 12 & under teams stroke play was played around top-quality Adelaide courses Adelaide Shores, North Adelaide and Mount Osmond GC.
The talent on show was very impressive, with one NSW student shooting a six-under-par 66 around a challenging Mount Osmond GC!
WA battled hard throughout the week with multiple personal bests broken and handicaps slashed. The boys and girls can be proud of their achievements. The boys finished fourth, a heart-breaking four shots shy of the medals. The girl’s finished in sixth place after some memorable performances.
WA also had two All–Australian selections for the week in Jung and Cohen after their breakout weeks.
Jack Newton Sub Junior Classic champion Jung claimed three-and-a-half wins following his runner-up in the stroke play underlining a bright future for the Year 9 student.
Cohen, a two-time state representative, claimed two wins following her impressive play in the stroke play ensuring her position in a team which has included Emirates Australian Open winner Cameron Davis and WA rookie professionals Hannah Green and Jarryd Felton.
“The week in Adelaide was definitely without doubt a tough one,”Cohen said. “The girls went into the week knowing that each match was going to be a challenge, but each game could also go either way”.
“The girls all fought extremely hard through the whole week and I am so proud of all of the girls in the team.”