Rostrum finish for WA after thrilling tie with NSW

18th Apr 2024

WA finished third overall at the Junior Interstate Teams Matches after halving a high-quality encounter with NSW on the final day at Royal Fremantle.

The match was a crucial one in terms of the entire competition, with the result impacting the combined team title as well as the boys’ and girls’ categories.

Overnight leaders NSW had to avoid defeat to successfully defend the combined team prize, while WA needed at least a draw to win the boys’ division outright.

A win for WA’s girls over NSW, meanwhile, would open the door for QLD to top the girls’ category should they beat South Australia. In short, there was all to play for.

Given the relative inexperience of the WA girls’ team, one might have expected NSW to overpower them and run away to an easy victory. Not a bit of it. Playing in only her second match of the tournament, Busselton Golf Club’s Chloe Veeran held her nerve superbly to edge a rollercoaster clash against Camilla Kim.

After squandering a two-hole halfway advantage to fall behind, Veeran dug deep to reestablish her lead and close out a 2&1 win – a real boost to WA, who had just seen Halia Edwards lose to a birdie-fuelled Sophie Eppelstun.

Junior Interstate Matches Chloe Veeran

Chloe Veeran is congratulated by proud father Collin after her 2&1 victory


With WA’s Isabella Leniartek disposing of Rachel Lee 4&3 in the top match, the result was left in the hands of Alice Tonts, who was involved in another ding-dong battle with Amy Squires.

A magnificent up-and-down from a greenside bunker on their 17th hole kept Tonts level in the match and she sealed a 1UP victory with a clutch par at the tricky par-three 8th (their final hole). Her win – Tonts’ third in four matches at the event – gave WA’s girls a well-earned 3-1 victory.

Needing at least two points of the four on offer, WA’s boys ran into a NSW team packed with talent and determined not to give their rivals an inch. Joondalup CC’s Nate Johnson was given a torrid time by Harry Gourlay, who was on fire throughout to record a 6&4 victory in the first boys’ clash.

Toby Farrar eventually outlasted Royal Fremantle’s own Mandeep Singh, winning 3&2 and putting an end to Singh’s unbeaten run in the competition. With just two close matches left on course, WA needed to win both to secure top spot in the boys’ division.

Facing off against the newly crowned Australian Boys Amateur champion Samuel Cascio, Royal Perth’s Spencer Harrison grabbed a precious lead with a birdie on the 16th hole of their match.

After a sublime approach shot to the next, the 15-year-old rolled in a slippery 15-footer for birdie to clinch a 2&1 win – his fourth from six matches throughout the week.

Junior Interstates Spencer Harrison

Spencer Harrison achieved four wins in his six matches in a strong interstates debut


Last on course was WA captain Josiah Edwards, who was in need of a grandstand finish but wasn’t given the opportunity by the supremely talented Kayun Mudadana. Two up with two to play, Mudadana expertly navigated a severe downhill putt to win the match 3&1 with a fine birdie.

Although the overall match was tied 4-4, NSW’s 3-1 margin of victory was enough to see them edge WA to the boys’ title. However, the WA girls’ win denied NSW the double, with QLD topping the girls’ standings courtesy of their win over South Australia.

It left WA in second place in both the boys’ and girls’ competitions but third overall, with 4 points from their six combined matches, which included three wins, two ties and a narrow loss to QLD on day two.

View the combined team standings here
View the boys’ standings here
View the girls’ standings here

Counting the positives

Despite ultimately going home empty-handed, there were numerous positives for the WA juniors to take from interstates week – not least the fortitude of the girls, who performed above all expectations.

Of the five girls, only Isabella Leniartek had previously played in the interstate series but any fears that WA might be easy pickings were quickly dispelled. From their five matches, WA’s girls lost just once – to overall winners QLD – and produced some sublime golf in wins over SA, ACT and NSW.

With five wins from her five matches, Leniartek had the biggest winning streak in the whole event, while all five WA girls earned at least one win. It was a fine team effort.

The WA boys were a more competitive outfit on paper and lived up to the billing with some dominant displays. Like the girls, all five players contributed points to the cause and there was no shame in defeat to a stellar NSW lineup on the final day.

Junior Interstate Matches

Josiah Edwards and Mandeep Singh are amongst the WA players who will still be eligible for next year’s series


Most promisingly of all, perhaps, is the fact that eight of the 10 WA players this year will still be eligible for next year’s matches with their experiences at Royal Fremantle sure to hold them in good stead.

Despite a hint of disappointment that WA were unable to lift any trophies this week, team coach Craig Bishop can see a bright future for his young charges.

“There was a lot of good golf played this week and it’s been really valuable seeing how the players compete under pressure,” he told GolfWA.

“We knew the boys would be strong, but the girls were fantastic, and proof that good team morale can actually improve performance. Going forward, these kids will be really good players.”

“The team did good,” captain Josiah Edwards added. “We worked together and supported each other really well. We were like one big family, which helped us almost get to the top of the leaderboard.

“We’ve got such a young team that by next year or the year after, with more experience, I think we’ll have a really good chance of winning the whole thing.”

One of those who will still be eligible next year is Mount Lawley GC’s Isabella Leniartek. The 15-year-old was arguably the player of the tournament with five wins out of five, including victories over some of the nation’s very best juniors.

Junior Interstate Matches Leniartek

Isabella Leniartek (yellow) with her fellow unbeaten competitors from the interstate series


“It gives me a lot of confidence knowing I can play well and compete against the top players,” she told GolfWA. “Hopefully I can carry that over into the big tournaments later in the year.”

Of her fellow players in the girls’ team, Leniartek said: “They did so well and went beyond expectations. They were really great teammates and I’m very proud of every single one of them.”

Day 4 – WA vs NSW

Chloe Veeran beat Camilla Kim 2&1
Alice Tonts beat Amy Squires 1UP
Halia Edwards lost 6&5 to Sophie Eppelstun
Isabella Leniartek beat Rachel Lee 4&3

Nate Johnson lost 6&4 to Harry Gourlay
Mandeep Singh lost 3&2 to Toby Farrar
Spencer Harrison beat Samuel Cascio 2&1
Josiah Edwards lost 3&1 to Kayun Mudadana

Final score: WA 4-4 NSW

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