Chen and Hatch secure WA Amateur titles

20th Mar 2022

Mount Lawley Golf Club turned on beautiful weather and a great slick course for the finals of the WA Amateur Championships. The battle for the titles was for the men, between Josiah Edwards (Gosnells) and Adam Hatch (Royal Fremantle) and for the women, between Celine Chen (Joondalup) and Mia Lawson (Joondalup).

In the men Adam started all guns firing, quickly going 3up after 3 holes, which he held well until the wheels went a bit off down the eighth when he nearly went out of bounds and on the ninth when he lost his drive, unfortunately losing a good lead and turning just 1up. In the Women’s final, Celine made the first move going 1up after a birdie down the par 5 2nd hole, however Mia clawed that back and when she made a well thought out and executed birdie on the 9th hole, turned 2up.

Adam regrouped his thoughts and settled back down to be 3up after 12 on Josiah, while Celine was getting some good momentum over Mia with a par on 12th, birdie on 13th and a par on 14th to get to 1up.
The short par 4 16th hole has been a hole to watch all week and didn’t disappoint in the morning either. Adam cracked a perfect drive landing on the green and holding but leaving him a very long putt as the pin was on the other side of the green. Josiah didn’t get the fade he wanted and ended up in the sand and sticks left of the green. He had no chance of going for the green and chipped to the left. His second chip was magic, giving him a par. However, Adam’s putting was solid and two putted for a simple birdie to move to 3up.

After the first 18 holes Adam was 4up over Josiah and Celine was 2up over Mia. Adam said, “the greens were good, plenty of putts to be made, however Josiah is good he will come back hard”.

After a quick lunch it was back out to the course, with Josiah managing a quick four at the first to get one back off Adam who couldn’t get up and down after missing the green. Through the next few holes fatigue started to set in, understandable given this was their 90 something holes in the last 5 days. Adam had an easy four on the 7th to get back to 4up and holed a 25-footer on the par three 8th after catching the greenside bunker, to halve the hole and stay 4up.

Celine got off to a good start winning the first hole.  Then Mia bogied the par 5 3rd to to 4 down, but got it back again quickly with a par on the 5th. However Celine made a great long birdie putt on the 6th to move back to 4 up, a position she retained through the front nine.

Drama was certainly happening with the men on the 9th hole.  Josiah had hit his second shot well right and near the 5th tee and Adam was well short for 2 on the left in the sandy rough. He must have thought Josiah wasn’t that far away and proceeded to play his shot and put it twelve feet away. Once Josiah realised Adam had played his shot, he asked the official who would have been further away and it was seen to easily be Josiah, so Adam was asked to replay his shot.  No problem at all as he pretty much matched the previous shot. Josiah hit a brilliant shot over the trees to about twenty feet from the pin but unfortunately missed his putt. This gave Adam a chance to get one back after being asked to replay his shot and bang, he nailed the putt over the ridge with about four feet of borrow straight in the back of the cup – with a fist pump.

Drama for the men didn’t stop there.  They both teed off the 10th, Adam went a bit left into the rough and Josiah found the fairway down the left. Unfortunately, when Adam started walking he could see people looking for his ball.  It was nowhere to be found.  He thought he saw it bounce so it shouldn’t be plugged; had it accidentally been picked up? Either way, the ball couldn’t be found in the allotted 3 minutes and back to the tee in a cart as the women waited patiently.  At least the next one went down the middle and everyone kept their eyes on it. An easy four by Josiah was enough to win the hole and get it back to 3 down.  Josiah was suddenly on a roll with a win on the 12th and then with a birdie on the 13th, he was just one down.

The women finally got to play the 10th hole after waiting for the men to finish their fun and games.  After both made solid pars on the 10th, Mia holed a tricky birdie putt from above the hole on the 11th  and when Celine couldn’t get up and down from a tricky hollow on the 14th, a simple par gave Mia the hole bringing it back to just 2 down.

But as easy as it is to get yourself back in the game so you can get yourself out of it and a bogey on the par 3 15th and a bogey on the short par 4 16th gave the match to Celine 4 & 2.

It was a competitive show of golf between the two Joondalup friends, Celine said, “Mia and I are really good friends and I know that her match play skills are really good, so my plan was to stay calm, focused and enjoy it out there”.

While the women were happy to play Mount Lawley from the fairway the men had other options. Coming down the 14th hole Josiah decided it best to play it down the 12th instead after hitting his drive deep left into the rough. He had 158 metres out from the far left on the 12th hole and hit a wonderful 7 iron over the trees.  He couldn’t see it land but he knew by the applause it went well, and that it certainly did, twelve feet from the pin. However, you need to get the putts to win the holes and he let the birdie putt slide by. Adam played the hole in conventual methods but sunk the putt to get back to 2 up.

The next couple of holes were halved in pars so it was dormy going down the 17th hole.  Both players were just off the green in three and two easy shots and matching 5’s saw Adam win the match 2 & 1.

It was certainly a hard-fought match between the men, great golf, wild golf at times, and towards the end, tired golf that was to be expected after 5 days and somewhere around 100 holes. Adam who is 38 years of age said it wasn’t till after the match he found out that Josiah was 14 years old. In the post-game interview Adam was quick to say, “yeah, I’m done, it became tough as the day went on the body got a bit tired”. He said the part of his game that held him strong today was a combination of hitting the ball well and relying on his solid putting that came through when needed.

Well done to our 2022 WA Amateur champions, Adam Hatch and Celine Chen and commiserations to the runners up, Josiah Edwards and Mia Lawson. Also well done to all the participants and thank you to Mount Lawley Golf Club for being such great hosts and also to the wonderful volunteers for all their help and finally to those people that came out to support the players. Keep your eyes peeled for the video recap of the day. Until next year, all the best.