Clean sweep for WA in Adelaide

14th Jan 2018

Western Australia’s junior athletes have once again proven that they are a force to be reckoned with, collecting four major trophies at the South Australian Junior Masters.

The weather on the final day was a far cry from Thursday’s heat, with intermittent rain and blustery conditions ensuring scoring opportunities were few and far between. That didn’t stop Kathryn Norris (Mandurah), however, who prevailed in the girl’s championship after a pulsating day.

Norris was almost flawless in the morning’s round, making an eagle and three birdies before unexpectedly making a double on the par four 17th hole and again on the tough par four 18th to bring her back to the pack. Kirsten Rudgeley (Wanneroo) and overnight leader Maddison Hinson – Tolchard (Gosnells) hung tough to remain in the hunt with one round to play. Both Rudgeley and Hinson – Tolchard were joined by Queensland’s Cassie Porter, champion last week at The Grange, who carded an excellent three under par round to get back into the mix.

However, it was Norris who put her foot on the accelerator as she opened up a four stroke lead over Rudgeley with 10 holes to play. Testament to Rudgeley’s grit, Norris was pushed all the way with Rudgeley making birdies on the par five 2nd and again on the short par five 6th to bridge the gap. Norris made a clutch birdie on the 8th to stretch the lead once again, before back – to – back errors meant the door was left ajar for Rudgeley to make her move.

With the wind getting up, Rudgeley hit it to 15 feet on the par three 12th however could not convert, which meant Norris needed a regulation par to claim the title. She duly delivered, and secured her second South Australian Junior Masters title in three years.

Josh Greer (Joondalup) got the upper hand early in the boy’s championship, playing solid golf to put the pressure back on the chasing Zach Maxwell (Queensland) and Connor McKinney (Mandurah). As Maxwell began to falter, McKinney showed why he is regarded as having one of the best short games in the country making a clutch up and down on hole 15 for birdie to take the lead, before three consecutive bogies ensured he started the final round one stroke back from Greer. Corey Lamb (New South Wales) got himself into the mix, carding a seven birdie round of three under par 69 to be three back from Greer.

Greer and McKinney got themselves in front of the chasing pack early in the final round, with Greer leading McKinney by one stroke through eight holes. Greer dealt a killer blow to McKinney, holing a downhill ten foot birdie putt on the notoriously tricky 11th hole to ensure a three stroke buffer over McKinney with two holes to play.

A twist in the tale was brewing, however, with ACT’s Adam Thorp surging into contention. Making birdies on the 3rd, 9th and 11th, Thorp got within reach of Greer standing on the second – to – last par three 12th. With the wind gusting, Thorp three – putted from 45 feet whilst Greer flared his tee shot way right of the green, also resulting in bogey. Needing a birdie to force the pressure on Greer, Thorp hit an errant tee shot into the trees meaning a regulation par from Greer would seal the title. Greer did just that, ensuring a two stroke victory over good friend McKinney and his first national title out of Western Australia.

A solid final round two over par from Connor Fewkes (Goldfields) ensured the boy’s team championship went to WA, claiming the title by nine strokes from Queensland. Runner – up Rudgeley and sixth – placed Abbie Teasdale (Royal Fremantle) claimed the girl’s team championship for WA, leading South Australia by 14 strokes.

An incredible six girls and six boys from Western Australia finished inside to top 15 of the South Australian Junior Masters, including Hayden Hopewell (Royal Fremantle) who recorded the best round of the final afternoon, a one under par 71.

If the above has anything to go by, the future looks bright for golf in Western Australia.