By Neal Maidment
South Australia’s Caitlin Peirce was steadiness personified as she fired a one-under-par final round to land the Bowra & O’Dea Women’s Classic 72-hole title at The Western Australian Golf Club.
Peirce (pictured above), aged 22, looked to have a big task on her hands to overhaul overnight leader Annika Rathbone’s three-stroke advantage. She reduced the gap to a single stroke by the 10th tee and nosed ahead after Rathbone carded back-to-back bogeys on 10 and 11.
Queenslander Hannah Reeves, meanwhile, was busy turning a two-horse race into a three-horse race. Starting the day 10 behind Rathbone and seven adrift of Peirce, Reeves reached the turn in 33 (three under par) and kept her foot on the accelerator.
Further birdies on 12, 13, 16 and 17 moved Reeves into a share of the lead and she was even threatening a course record before a bogey at the last blunted her drive. Her six-under 67 was, however, the round of the day by some margin.
It left Peirce, who had birdied 13 and 17, with a two-stroke advantage on the final tee, which she duly held onto, closing with a rock-solid par to finish the championship at -5.
Rathbone, whose chances faded away with further bogeys on 15 and 16, closed with a four-over 77 to share second with Reeves, two shots behind Peirce.
On what was a very successful three days’ work for interstate visitors, NSW’s Yerin Kim and Victorian Jazy Roberts tied for fourth at +2 for the championship, while Tasmania’s Hallie Meaburn was outright sixth a further two strokes back.
The top-placed WA golfers were Erina Tan, Amanda Gan (both Mount Lawley) and Sasha Hofman (Gosnells), who finished T7th at +5.
Peirce on a roll
For Peirce, her win was the latest in a string of fine performances that saw her reach the last 16 of the US Women’s Amateur before winning the Queensland Women’s Amateur last weekend.
“I knew there was a low score out there today if players were able to capitalise. I gave myself a lot of opportunities, but held it together well enough to come through in the end,” Peirce told GolfWA.
She had words of consolation for Golf Australia High Performance teammate Rathbone, after she was unable to hold on to her 54-hole lead. “I feel for Annika. She missed a lot of putts that she would have holed yesterday, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
“It’s still a great week for her, especially when you consider she only flew in the evening before the tournament and only saw the course when she played her first round on Monday.”
After her best-of-the-week 67, QLD’s Reeves, another member of the Golf Australia team, has now finished runner-up in this event for two years running.
“Everything went right today,” she said. “I made the most of the par fives, birdieing them all except the last, which was a bit disappointing. But Caitlin is a great golfer, she’s super-solid and I’m really happy for her.”
The Bowra & O’Dea Women’s Classic also features Mid-Am and Seniors competitions, which were just as fiercely competed. Lauren Dowd held on to win the Mid-Am by three strokes from WAGC clubmate Young Ju Kennedy, while Bunbury GC’s Josephine Jones won the Seniors title by two strokes from Jane Walton (WAGC).
The event was the first in GolfWA history to feature a live-streaming component, with cameras following the action on the pivotal par-three 16th. You can view the recording here.