McKinney Shares Gold at Australian Amateur Championship Qualifiers

17th Jan 2018

Connor McKinney has jointly claimed the Gold Medal for the Australian Amateur Championship Qualifiers to cap off a stellar opening two days for Western Australia at the national tournament held at Lake Karrinyup and Wanneroo Golf Clubs.

The young 15-year old has been dominant over the qualifiers, finishing equal first with Darcy Boyd (NSW) at nine-under-par, meaning the medal is shared. Fortunately, McKinney pulled the number one seed from a random draw, leaving him in pole position going into tomorrow.

Min Woo Lee finished just one shot off the pace at eight-under-par to claim the third seed, nailing a clutch birdie on the 16th to finish on 68 for the second consecutive round.

Min Woo Lee during Day 2 of the Australian Amateur Championships

Hira Naveed was impressive throughout the qualifiers to finish at even-par, making four birdies in her round of 72.

Kirsten Rudgeley started slowly with four bogies over her first six holes, before pulling her score back nicely to finish three-over-par and comfortably into the second half of the competition.

However, it was McKinney who stole the show, playing with maturity well beyond his years to shoot his name into unlikely contention for the Championship.

The youngster didn’t seem overawed by the enormity of the occasion, carving out a career-best 66 on Tuesday before backing it up with a bogey-free 69 at Lake Karrinyup today.

“It’s been pretty chilled to be honest, I have just really been looking forward to the tournament,” a surprised McKinney said.

“Well yesterday was great, 66 is the lowest score I have ever scored, so that was a huge bonus.”

Incredibly, the Scottish-born prodigy felt he hit the ball better today rather than his opening round, with some minor mistakes the only blemish on his day.

“I have really felt like I have played pretty consistent golf over the past two days,” he mentioned.

“I actually felt like I hit the ball better today, just missed some easy opportunities.”

As the competition moves to the elimination rounds, McKinney has no real expectations, with his first national championship already a success.

“I guess a win would be really nice, but I have just got to see how it goes,” he claimed. “Really just stick to my game plan.”

“I’m just basically trying to finish as high as I can, that’s my aim.”

Jayson Watson on the 1st at Wanneroo Golf Club

Joseph Owen jumped up the leaderboard with birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th to finish tied for tenth at four-under-par, while Michael Dennis ended one shot further back.

Adam Hatch finished the day in fine fashion, nailing a 60-metre chip for eagle on the first play-off hole to secure his spot in the match-play.

Overall more than 15 Western Australian’s made the cut and will now move into the elimination match-play format for the rest of the tournament.

Simon Liddell at the 10th tee at Wanneroo Golf Club

The men’s competition will now feature 64 golfers, while the women’s will have a top 32 moving into the second phase of the Australian Amateur Championships.

Fading light meant the day came to an abrupt end, with play resuming at 6.30AWST tomorrow.

The remainder of the tournament will take place at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.