WA Amateur Preview

10th Mar 2014

After two months of high quality golf in the eastern states, the Australian Amateur circuit finally heads out West for the Western Australian Amateur Championship to be held at Royal Perth Golf Club between the 12th and the 16th of March.

Headlining the event are a handful of locals, with Australian Number 2 Curtis Luck and Australian Number 3 Jarryd Felton starting as favourites in the Men’s, while Australia’s Number 3 golfer, Hannah Green and Australia’s Number 5 Hayley Bettencourt headlines the Women’s event.

If winning is infectious, then Curtis Luck and Jarryd Felton should spend more time together. The two WA teenagers have taken Australian Amateur Golf by storm this year, travelling together for a period of five weeks that took them from South Australia, to NSW, Tasmania and Victoria, winning four titles between them, as well as two second place finishes.

Luck of Cottesloe Golf Club has catapulted to the Number 1 ranked Junior Australian Golfer and will captain the WA Junior State Side in Aprils interstate series. Luck, ranked 800 in the world at the start of the year now finds himself just outside the top 100.

Felton, is now ranked 32nd in the world, after being ranked at 350 just six months prior.

It takes just one thing to rise so quickly in such a short amount of time, and that’s winning events. Felton’s biggest wins came from national title wins at the NSW Amateur and Tasmanian Open to go with his victories at the Mandurah Amateur and Queensland Strokeplay late last year.

Luck has earned himself two big victories this year, including the NSW Strokeplay and Victorian Junior Masters, however the biggest performance was reserved for the Australian Amateur, where he finished as a finalist in a field stacked with the world’s best amateur golfers.

Having shared meals, car trips and hotel rooms for the past couple months, Luck and Felton are now back home and looking to add their State title to their impressive list of scalps this year.

The pair will head into the next week’s WA State Amateur Championships as joint favourites alongside NSW’s Cameron Davis, ranked 4th in Australia.. Talking to Golf WA from this week’s Riversdale Cup in Victoria, Luck said he was looking forward to playing back at home.

“It will be my first home event of the year, so I’m looking very forward to coming home and playing in it. Having the family watching is always nice as well as not having to rely on other people giving you a lift to the golf course. Being able to drive yourself makes it a lot easier!”

Luck, who hails from Cottesloe Golf Club, has been getting a lot more practice in at Royal Perth in the lead up to the Amateur after deciding to join the club late last year.

“I’ve been practicing there a fair bit purely for preparation for the state Amateur so hopefully I know the course well enough.”

“It does make you feel confident knowing what clubs to hit off the tee exactly and what your game strategy is around there and how the course will behave. Probably more than anything it just helps with confidence and being able to trust what you’re going to do out there where when you go to a course you kind of have to see and plan out how you’re going to play it, but here I’ll already know what I’m going to do, so confidence will be pretty high playing at Royal Perth.”

With the confidence of hitting around on one his home tracks and a string of great finishes behind him, Luck says he isn’t fazed by having the favourite tag and wont approach the week-long event any differently.

“My form of late has given me confidence in these events, but it’s just a new week isn’t it? It doesn’t matter what you’ve done beforehand as long as you do what you need to do to get to the final or win, it’s all you can really ask for, you can’t do much more than you can do.”

The WA Amateur Championship is WA’s oldest golf competition, with the Women’s event dating back to 1910 and the Men’s to 1911. Last year’s winners, Brady Watt and Minjee Lee both went on to become the Number 1 ranked amateurs in the world within a year, while Brady Watt turned professional and has earned starts on the European and PGA tour, Minjee Lee has already won her first professional event as an amateur at the Victorian Open. The field of over 150 will feature WA’s best amateur golfers as well as many interstate and international players from Singapore, England and Poland.

While Felton and Luck will head in as joint favourites in the Men’s, they will be up against the venerable Michael Dennis on his home course. Alongside them Australian Number 3 Hannah Green of Mount Lawley is heavily favoured in the women’s event, two time WA Amateur quarter finalist Grace Daniel of Victoria and Mandurah’s Hayley Bettencourt, Australian Number 5 her main opposition. Youngsters Hira Naveed, recent winner of the Nedlands Junior Masters and Claudia Pisano, both from Mount Lawley will definitely be a contender for match play spots too.

The Royal Perth course will undoubtedly be in superb condition for the event. Its central location and ease of walking will make it good for spectators. There will be some great golf played during the week, GolfWA encourages everyone to come along and watch WA’s best in action, well actually…bring a friend!