State Amateur set for thrilling climax

14th Mar 2020

Melville Glades turned on perfect conditions for the leading four ladies and eight gents in Saturday’s match play finals at the 2020 Amateur Championships of WA.

Defending State Am champion Kirsten Rudgley and 2019 finalist, Mandurah’s Kathryn Norris will battle it out in the 36-hole match play competition on Sunday. This is the third time this pairing has met in the final.

Kirsten defeated fellow Mount Lawley member Valerie Khuu 3&2 to secure her position in the final. Speaking after the match Kirsten noted, “Valerie is such a good player. Whatever she is doing with Bish keep it going. She putts well and hits so straight. As soon as she gets that little more distance and height she is going to be so, so good.”

“Having a longer shot has not been an advantage for me here, because players like Valerie and Celine hit their hybrids so well into the green for a couple of foot putt. They play the holes slightly differently [to me] but so well. The key thing for me today was the putt on twelve which I holed for birdie. It set me on the right track to close out the match.”

In her usual laid back fashion, Kirsten said “Tomorrow I will just rock up I am pretty chilled like that. My plan will be to play steady golf, I will need to get some birdies out there but I know Kathryn will do the same.”

Kathryn Norris defeated Maddy Hinson-Tolchard 3&2. “It was a close match today, Maddy really hung in there. I knew I had to make some birdies coming in so I stepped it up a gear.”

Maddy’s scrambling is unbelievable sometimes, I had to keep it together and maximise the opportunities when they arose.

“Tomorrow I am going to enjoy it. With everything that is happening with my Mum and the world, we are lucky to be out here. In the last few months mentally I have changed, life has really put things into perspective.”

The men’s morning match play offered some surprises with top seed Haydn Barron taking a tumble to fifteen-year-old Alex Maxwell.

Maxwell’s putter was on fire and the teenager noted, “I had fifteen one-putts, I’m very happy and that got me the match.”

Royal Fremantle’s Alex made it through to the afternoon round to face State Team member Jordan Jung. The pair were well matched with Alex moving one ahead after four holes. Jung then came back strongly winning three consecutive holes and staying ahead to win the match 3&2.

Hayden Hopewell was consistent in the morning defeating international competitor Naraajie Emerald 1UP to move into the semi-final in the afternoon where he faced Joondalup’s Thomas Botica.

Second seed Hopewell struggled to get ahead in the first nine with the match tight and square at the turn after Botica sunk a 30-foot putt for birdie on the 9th. Undeterred, Hopewell came back strongly to win the match 4&2.

It’s a first for both Hopewell and Jung to make the State Amateur Final. The two are regular competitors, teammates and as confirmed by Hopewell, “we are familiar with each others game.”

Jungy hits a straight ball, he knows the course, it’s his home track. My length will be key tomorrow. Hopefully, I get some good reads on the green and have a strong round. I have really wanted to focus on this event. My sister has been on the bag, she’s been my rock this week and keeping me calm. I’m lucky she will be with me tomorrow.

Jordan noted, “the thing for Hayden is he has the distance up on me so that will be a challenge. Par 5’s he will have an advantage on me. I have played this course a lot though – I am a member here and Mount Lawley, so I know how to get myself around this course well. It will be about me getting the ball in the right place and I should be good to go.”

The 36-hole match play finals will commence at 8.30 am off the first tee tomorrow at Melville Glades Golf Club. Follow all the action here and on our Instagram and social channels.