The School Sport Australia 19 years and under Golf Championship was held at the City Golf Club in Toowoomba Queensland from Monday 25th August to Friday 29th August, 2014. The series enjoyed lovely weather with cool mornings and sunny afternoons which allowed the tournament to be played in ideal conditions with wind only being present during round four of the matchplay. The course, although not long, was physically demanding as the layout takes advantage on the hilly nature of the Toowoomba range. The 10th Hole is known as Coronary Hill for very good reason.
BOYS REPORT by Matt Nelson
A silver medal, 2 holes in one, victories against Australia’s best and a barrel of laughs- What a week for the boys representing School Sport WA, in the National Championships last week!
With most of the State Junior Team unavailable, we knew it was going to be a challenge against the powerhouses of New South Wales, Victoria and last year’s champions Queensland however with a team picked on current form and relative youth, we were full of confidence going into the event. The team comprised of:
Robbie Morrison (captain), Lewis Clay, Cooper Geddes, Jose De Sousa, Max Gill and Azer Pehlic.
The week started in cold weather with the Strokeplay Championships on Monday, where WA beat favourites Queensland and Victoria to the silver medal! Cooper Geddes, only 13 years of age, started the tournament with a birdie and hole in one on his way to tie the halfway lead shooting a 2- over par 72 with Issac Noh (NSW) and Australian representative Blake Windred (NSW). In the afternoon the older WA players showed their quality, with captain Robbie Morrison carding a best of the tournament 1- under par 69 to finish in a tie for 6th, and Lewis Clay carding one more (70) to finish in a tie for 11th with Cooper Geddes. With all players carding consistent rounds in the low to mid 70’s, WA received the silver medal finishing 20 shots behind champions New South Wales.
The matchplay tournament started on Tuesday, where WA came up against last year’s champions Queensland and the much fancied Victorian side. In two close matches, WA lost to Queensland 4-2 and Victoria 4.5- 1.5. WA was 3-3 with Victoria with 6 holes to play however 4 tough rounds in 2 days took it’s toll and unfortunately WA went down fighting. With Cooper Geddes and Azer Pehlic picking up their first career representative wins WA players held their heads up high.
After a much deserved day off, WA thumped South Australia 5-1 with a dominant performance! Unfortunately WA couldn’t get across the line in another close affair with an experienced ACT side, going down 4-2. Again WA was 4-2 up with 9 holes to play, but tiredness and a lack of experience prevailed. Jose was quoted as saying “that was one of my best rounds ever” after being 3- under par through 17 holes, and still couldn’t get across the line which summed up our afternoon.
The final match against eventual champions New South Wales was an absolute cracker with all matches going past the 16th green. Unfortunately some bad luck, and awesome golf down the stretch from NSW meant WA went down 4-2 yet again. Our young players can hold their heads up high with the best team performance I’ve ever seen, against side with a sum of their handicaps equalling +10 and WA’s summing up to 12. With Lewis Clay capping off a solid week’s performance with a win against the NSW captain, and earning a place in a play- off for Australian Merit Team selection, and a second WA hole in one for Max Gill it capped off a fantastic week for a young WA side!
When asked the question “Who here has played a round this week, that is in their top 5 career performances” at a team meeting after the NSW game all 6 boys put up their hands. I think this sums up the week fittingly. Go WA!
GIRLS REPORT by Sue Thomson
With most of the State Junior girls making themselves unavailable for selection we took the decision to take a development side to the championships this year. This year’s girls’ team was the youngest ever to represent WA at the golf championship and with our handicaps ranging between 6 and 13 we were always going to be challenged by the other states, many of whom had all girls under 5 handicap. The team comprised
Alysha Ahnantakrishnan – (Ursula Frayne Catholic College/Mount Lawley Golf Club) – Captain
Jennifer Herbst – (Kingsway Christian College/ Lake Karrinyup Country Club)
Maddison Hinson-Tochard – (Penros College/ Gosnells Golf Club)
Kirsten Rudgeley – (St Stephens School Carramar/ Wanneroo Golf Club)
Abbie Teasdale – (Piara Waters Primary School/ Melville Glades Golf Club)
Isabell Utama – (Mel Maria Catholic Primary School/ Royal Fremantle Golf Club)
Sue Thomson – (Kelmscott Senior High School/ Mount Lawley Golf Club) – Manager
The competition began with the Australian Schools’ Strokeplay Championship played over 36 holes. All 6 girls played in the strokeplay and acquitted themselves well over the day. Kirsten Rudgeley was our best performer in the gross shooting 85/82 = 167 to finish =18th while Jennifer Herbst (87/82 =169) finished 20th. Jennifer won the bronze medal in the nett event after shooting a PB gross 83 nett 71 in the afternoon round. The girls’ nett results for both rounds were all in the 70’s.
On Tuesday we moved onto the interstate series with our first match against eventual winners NSW. The WA girls were pumped and with a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude surprised their highly credentialed opponents by taking them well into the 18 holes. Abbie halved her match, Kirsten took strokeplay champion Doey Choi to the 17th before going down 2&1, Jennifer went to the 17th and Maddy to the 18th in their matches. We lost 5.5/.5
In the afternoon we played the highly rated Queensland team, and after the great results of the morning, we once again went out with a never say die attitude. Again we pushed our opponents well into the afternoon. Abbie came out even more determined and this time scored a 1 up victory, Maddy again went to the 18th before losing 1 down and Jennifer took her opponent to the 16th hole. We lost 5-1.
After a welcome day off on Wednesday when the heavens opened and Toowoomba recorded more than 50mls of rain, much of it in the form of hail, we were ready to take on the ACT on Thursday morning. We were more determined than ever to score a win. Abbie, Jennifer and Isabell all recorded wins while Kirsten halved her match. We were ecstatic to win 3.5 to 2.5.
By Thursday afternoon fatigue had set in and we faced the might of Victoria. Just getting up the 17th hole was a challenge and so we were all very happy when Sue and Vic Manager Jo, gave us a lift on the back of their cart. It must have helped the Vics more because they beat us 6-0, but again we recorded some very close matches. Maddie played the game of her life to take Australian Junior Girls’ Amateur champion Kono Matsumoto to the 17th before losing 3&1, Abbie lost 1 down and Isabell lost on the 17th hole.
Friday morning saw our final match and we were out against SA. We had high hopes for another win, but once again, tiredness overwhelmed us and we didn’t quite make it over the line. Captain Alysha had her first win for WA (3&2), Isabell again proved her ‘mighty mouse’ tag and halved her match and Kirsten lost on the 18th.
Finishing in fifth position with such a young team was a very good result. Although this year’s team was quite different to that of 2013, they were a very talented and positive group of young women who were excellent representatives for their State and Schools. One of the highlights of the tournament was the tenacity shown by the two youngest girls, Abbie Teasdale and Isabell Utama. This is a huge positive for girls’ golf in WA for the future. All of the girls got the opportunity to step up and take on difficult matches and they all responded very well, even surprising themselves at times.