Sue Thompson – School Sport WA
The WA School Sport golf team has just completed a very successful week at the Australian Schools’ Championship on the Bellarine Peninsular in Victoria. Twelve of our best student golfers (6 girls and 6 boys) represented WA in the Australian Schools’ Strokeplay championship which was played at the Lonsdale Links course and the interstate matchplay series which was played across two course at Curlewis GC and The Sands Resort.
Monday saw the students head out onto the tight Lonsdale layout in cold, howling winds which, later in the day, turned to heavy rain before settling for persistent drizzle. The event was played over 36 holes and the resilience of the players showed as scores actually improved throughout the day. Mount Lawley’s Erina Tan showed her class with two outstanding rounds to win the silver medal finishing one shot behind current Australian number 3 junior Amelia Harris. Erina was left to rue a triple bogey finish to her morning round. WAGC’s Joe Buttress lived up to his reputation and also captured a silver medal after shooting a 2-under afternoon round, finishing 6 shots adrift of the winner Max Fedmowski from Victoria. Ken Gao (Mount Lawley) shot two very steady rounds to take out the gold medal for the nett event and Gosnells player Nariko McDonnell captured the girls’ nett silver medal, bouncing back from a disappointing morning to have a great afternoon.
The boys’ team combined to win a bronze medal in the teams’ strokeplay while the girls finished in fourth place.
Tuesday brought very cold and windy conditions with some drizzle throughout the day as the players moved to the Curlewis golf club for the first two rounds of the match play series. WA was handed a tough draw with Queensland first up followed by NSW in the afternoon. Neither team started well with the boys going down to eventual winners Queensland 4.5 – 1.5 however Riley Gott got off to a great start winning 5&3 at number 5 while Joe Buttress halved his match at number 1. The girls’ fought hard but were defeated 4 -2 with Erina Tan and Ruby Cotton leading from the front at number 1 and 2 both winning their matches.
NSW proved too strong for WA in the afternoon as conditions continued to be very challenging. The girls were defeated 5 -1 as only 12-year old Aileen Sirait was able to win her match. The majority of the matches went at least as far as the 16th hole. The boys were also defeated with the scoreline 5.5 – .5. Ken Gao managed to grab himself a fantastic half after fighting back from 5 down.
Wednesday was education excursion day and it proved a game-changer for the boys as they were able to get some much needed rest, reevaluate their position and come out firing on Thursday.
Returning to the now familiar layout of Curlewis in slightly warmer conditions the boys’ team got going. First up it was SA who felt the WA teams’ renewed enthusiasm as the boys won 4 – 2. Numbers 1 to 4 – Joe Buttress, Ken Gao, Josiah Edwards and Riley Gott won their matches while Bailey Pilapil was an unlucky loser on the last hole. The girls, one again, fought hard and were up in a good number of matches before losing 4.5 – 1.5. Nariko McDonnell grabbed a 1 up win while Ruby Cotton halved her match.
With lunch quickly swallowed it was back out onto the course against traditional rivals Victoria. The boys left no stone unturned in the afternoon and put another 4.5 points on the board as they won 4.5 – 1.5. Joe Buttress, Ken Gao, Riley Gott and Braedon Law won their matches while Bailey Pilapil recorded a half. The girls were also fired up against the Vics and once again jumped out to an early lead before being pegged back by the eventual championship winners. Emma Clouston halved her match as the girls were defeated 5.5 – 1.5. This time only one match did not get as far as the 17th hole.
The last day dawned drizzly and cold as WA headed out the The Sands Resort course to take on the ACT. The girls were full of hope that they might record their first win however it was not to be as the ACT girls were clearly the stronger outfit and took out the match 4 – 2. Ruby Cotton recorded her second win at number two and Alice Tonts had her first win for the tournament playing at number 5. The boys finished the championships in perfect fashion winning 6 – 0 assuring themselves of the bronze medal by defeating Victoria on matches won. Riley Gott and Braedon Law were dominant winning 6&5 while Bailey Pilapil grabbed his first win with a 5&3 scoreline.
It was a very successful tournament for the WA team, in particular the boys, as they brought home 2 bronze team medals, 1 gold and 3 silver individual medals. Joe Buttress won a spot in the SSA Boys’ team of the year for his performance throughout the week.
The team members were :
Boys: Joe Buttress, Ken Gao, Josiah Edwards (c), Riley Gott, Braedon Law and Bailey Pilapil Manager: Jamie Warmun
Girls : Erina Tan, Ruby Cotton (c), Aileen Sirait, Emma Clouston, Alice Tonts and Nariko McDonnell. Manager: Sue Thomson
Everyone is very much looking forward to the 2023 championships which will be held in, hopefully, a much warmer Queensland.