By: Neal Maidment
Joondalup Country Club’s George Barclay recorded a two-stroke victory at the SA Junior Masters in Adelaide – with fellow WA players Josiah Edwards and Ken Gao snapping at his heels all the way.
Barclay held firm to post a two-over-par final round of 74 at Royal Adelaide GC and finish at -1 for the 54-hole championship. This left him two shots clear of Gosnells GC’s Edwards, who fired a closing 76 to finish T2nd with Bonniedoon GC’s Maximilian Fischer. Mount Lawley’s Gao fired a 78, but still claimed outright 4th at +3 for the championship.
All in all, it was an impressive two days’ work for the WA trio, who played together in the final three-ball after sharing a four-shot overnight lead at -3. There was further WA interest, too, with Kloden Brown of Royal Fremantle GC finishing in T38th.
In the concurrent girls’ event, Amanda Gan of Mount Lawley led the WA charge, finishing T6th at +6 for the championship, 10 strokes behind runaway winner Imogen Jessen of Kooyonga GC. Gan’s Mount Lawley clubmates Erina Tan and Valerie Khuu earned top-15 places at T9th and T12th respectively, while two more Mount Lawley players, Ruby Cotton (25th) and Alice Tonts (T27th), also competed.
Southern comfort for WA’s rising stars
Barclay’s victory will make the headlines, but, in truth, such a result had been threatening since earlier in the week, with several of the WA players impressing in the preceding SA Junior Amateur Championship at Kooyong GC on January 9-10.
There, Gao’s 54-hole total of +5 saw him finish in a three-way tie for 2nd, just two shots behind winner Kade Bryant of Glenelg GC. Edwards finished alone in 8th a further three shots back, with Barclay T12th on +11.
The WA girls enjoyed a similarly strong event, with Mount Lawley quartet Erina Tan (8th, +11), Valerie Khuu, Amanda Gan (both T10th, +17) and Ruby Cotton (T13th, + 20) all securing a raft of Junior Order of Merit points.
Overall, it was a highly successful week for the WA players, who gained invaluable interstate experience, as well as testing their abilities on two of SA’s finest courses.
Marc Pike, GolfWA’s Game Development & Performance Manager, accompanied the WA players on their trip and was impressed with the golf and the camaraderie in evidence. “All their talent and ability is clearly evident, but I’m most proud of how the boys and girls supported each other and celebrated their successes. The culture is so supportive and positive going into interstate selections,” he said.
On Barclay’s victory, Pike added: “George deserves this win and it’s a reflection of his efforts. He had the opportunity to represent GolfWA for the first time at the Jack Newton Classic in September last year and has taken on feedback and worked on his game. It all came together for him at Royal Adelaide and we’re delighted for him.”
GolfWA representatives in SA
Girls: Erina Tan, Valerie Khuu, Amanda Gan (all Mount Lawley GC)
Boys: Ken Gao (Mount Lawley GC), Josiah Edwards (Gosnells GC), George Barclay (Joondalup CC)