One was dominant and one closed out a nail-biter, but Kirsten Rudgeley and Harry Bolton both triumphed at Royal Adelaide today.
Perth’s Rudgeley, dominated the Rene Erichsen Salver to win by nine strokes, while Canberra’s Bolton hung on to his overnight lead to win the South Australian Amateur Classic by one shot after a dramatic 15 minutes.
The win caps a prolific summer for Rudgeley with wins in the Port Phillip Open Amateur and Victorian Amateur, a runner-up finish at the Australian Amateur and sharing 14th place with Geoff Ogilvy on the Australasian PGA Tour’s TPS event at Rosebud.
“I’m very happy with the win obviously, I feel like I’ve been playing well for, I’d like to say not just this year but for the last year, so getting a win is great,” Rudgeley said.
The Mount Lawley member finished 15 under for the week and an eagle-par-birdie-birdie run to close out the front nine ensured no one got close.
“I wasn’t relaxed or nervous (at the start of the day),” she said.
“I started a bit slow, but then I chipped in for eagle on the 6th which helped.
“I just played my golf and didn’t worry about what else was going on in the field.”
Melburnian Jeneath Wong (-6) and Sydneysider Kelsey Bennett (-5) played consistent golf to finish second and third, but neither seriously threatened Rudgeley.
Bolton, a member of both Royal Canberra and New South Wales Golf Club, will take the trophy home after his first ever WAGR event win on Australian soil.
“I’m stoked with the win. I don’t know if I just play well in Adelaide or what it is, but I’m really happy to get the win,” said Bolton, who’s enjoyed success in South Australia at the stroke play championship (non-WAGR) in 2019.
Bolton played alongside West Australian Hayden Hopewell and Queenslander Lewis Hoath in the final group which battled it out all day.
“Lewis got off to a great start, but I hung in there and played the par-5s well,” Bolton said.
“It was a lot more challenging today because of a completely different wind to what we got on the first three days.
“But I stayed calm all day, which was nice.”
Hoath led at halfway, but it came down to a tense finish.
Bolton miscued on 17th to make bogey and opened the door for both of his rivals.
Heading to the 18th tee, Bolton and Hopewell were level at -11 and Hoath sat a shot behind.
“18 was the only hole that played easier because of the wind,” said Bolton.
But the occasion made it hard work.
Bolton made par and avoided a playoff after Hopewell missed a short par putt and Hoath left his try only millimetres short.
Hopewell and Hoath finished in a three-way tie for second at -10 alongside South Australian Jack Buchanan, who shot 70 in an earlier group.
Royal Adelaide’s Billy Cawthorne also put himself into the mix with a 70 to finish -9 and imparted some wisdom on to Bolton.
“I was speaking to Billy afterwards and he said ‘it’s a 72-hole tournament and everyone missed putts, it’s not just about the last hole’,” Bolton said.
To cap off the victory, Bolton returns to Sydney to compete in his first pro event at the NSW Open next week.