By Neal Maidment
Abbie Teasdale and Ollie Marsh are the 2023 WA Amateur Champions after both produced some sublime golf on a scorching Sunday at Royal Fremantle.
Teasdale made the most of home-course advantage to grind down opponent Erina Tan en route to posting a 7&5 win in the 36-hole women’s final.
Fifteen-year-old Marsh, meanwhile, was in typically scintillating form on and around the greens, his renowned short game allowing him to keep Tom Addy at bay after going up early in their match. Marsh would eventually triumph 2&1 to become the joint-youngest winner in the tournament’s 112-year history.
Teasdale takes second WA Amateur crown
For 20-year-old Teasdale, the WA Amateur title was the cherry on top of a superb season that has already seen her claim the Concord Cup in Sydney and represent Australia for the first time in the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific.
Teasdale won the WA Amateur as a 15-year-old in 2018 but was in imperious form from day one at Royal Fremantle, winning the stroke play qualifying medal by four strokes to take her place as top seed in the match play draw.
Her levels barely dropped throughout the week as Teasdale recorded emphatic match play wins over Ruby Cotton, Isabella Leniartek and Sophie Williams on her march to the final.
Although the early stages of her match with Mount Lawley’s Erina Tan were cut and thrust, once Teasdale established her dominance on the back nine of the opening 18 holes she rarely seemed in danger of relinquishing the match. She ultimately closed out the title on the 31st hole of the final to record a 7&5 win over the plucky Tan.
Despite having a full trophy cupboard at home, Teasdale was delighted to add a second WA Amateur crown to her CV. “It feels really good, and to win the stroke play medal and the match title too makes it feel even better,” she told GolfWA.
Although Teasdale is contemplating when to make the transition into the professional ranks, she says she’s not done with the amateur game quite yet. “I’d like to win another major event over in England again,” she said, referring to her win in the 2022 English Women’s Amateur Championship. “And I’d really like to do well in the Australian Women’s Classic Bonville later this month, because it’s a pro event.”
Mesmerising Marsh makes major breakthrough
Wanneroo Golf Club’s Ollie Marsh may be small in stature and lacking the sort of length off the tee of many of his peers, but his Midas touch from 150 yards in has earmarked him as a player of great potential.
That potential was realised at Royal Fremantle as Marsh showed maturity beyond his years to fend off Joondalup’s Tom Addy and claim the biggest title of his fledgling career.
Time and again Marsh’s prowess with wedge and putter either got him out of trouble or heaped the pressure back onto his opponent. Each time it was a morale blow to Addy, who did little wrong throughout but couldn’t buy a putt at crucial times.
Ahead from early in the match, Marsh was as far ahead as 4UP during the closing 18 and eventually clinched the championship with a par on the 17th to win 2&1. In claiming the title at 15, Marsh joins 1995 winner Simon Lacy as the joint-youngest winner of the men’s WA Amateur, which he adds to the WA Junior Amateur Championship he won in 2022.
“I kept the ball in play today and holed some great putts to keep up the momentum,” Marsh explained. “I was pretty tired coming up the 17th and Tom played great golf today, so I’m very happy to win.”
With a short game that can strike fear into the hearts of his rivals, Marsh acknowledges that he never counts himself out of a hole during match play encounters. “When I hit it a bit wayward I’m not stressed about it because I know I’ve got a good chance of getting up and down,” he said. “My short game helped me a lot today and I hope this is a sign of bigger things yet to come.”
All four finalists, as well as men’s co-stroke play medallist Jordan Doull, earn exemptions into October’s WA Open on the Australasian PGA Tour and can look ahead to the rest of the season with great confidence.
GolfWA would like to thank all the players for contributing to such a memorable week, and all at Royal Fremantle who worked so hard to present the course in such magnificent fashion.