WA Amateur champions Minjee Lee (L) and Brady Watt. Photo: Golf WA
Tournament favourites Minjee Lee and Brady Watt both captured the respective Women’s and Men’s WA Amateur titles after dominant victories at the Royal Fremantle Golf Club on Sunday.
Lee produced a ruthless performance, defeating Cottesloe’s Tatiana Wijaya 12 and 11 to win her third state title in four years.
Watt ended Lee’s younger brother Min Woo’s amazing run winning 5&4 in the men's final.
Wijaya started positively taking the first hole however Lee began a devastating stretch to taking seven of the next eight holes to severely dent Wijaya’s title aspirations.
Wijaya would not lie down and cut the lead to four after winning three holes straight. But just as it was looking like the start of an epic comeback, Lee holed out for an eagle on the 18th, restoring her lead to five at lunch and all the momentum.
Lee then picked up where she left off extending her lead out to 10 and the result became inevitable. Lee then closed the match out with par on the 24th hole to seal a memorable win in front of her vocal home crowd.
Lee said “I started out playing par golf but then began to putt really well and started to make a lot of birdies.” When asked whether she lost concentration leading by such a margin, Lee answered “No way, you just do whatever it takes to get the win.”
Although Lee has captured some of amateur golf’s biggest titles, winning her third state title at her home club holds special significance. “To have a win in front all the members and the little juniors, they are such great supporters of me and my brother. It means a lot”.
Lee also made mention that she tried to follow the updates on her brother’s match as much as she could. “I was so surprised he made the finals, but he is playing so well, I’m really happy for him.”
The second half of this prodigious sibling duo didn’t fare as well, running into a hot Brady Watt who displayed all the talents that has taken him to number two in the world.
In a high quality match, both players traded birdies on the front nine until Watt stamped his authority on the final with three birdies in four holes. Watt then birdied the 13th hole to extend his lead to four holes at the lunch break.
Min Woo came back from lunch firing and immediately cut the lead to three with a birdie on the 19th hole.
Unfortunately for the 14 year old Lee and the local support, this was the closest he came to the unstoppable Watt.
After a brief last stand, Watt close out the final on the 32st hole to win 5 and 4.
Speaking on how he dealt with the dreaded ‘favourite’ tag, Watt said “my goal was to just go out there and play my shots.”
The win was made all the more challenging with big crowds cheering on the precocious Lee. Describing the atmosphere Watt said “It was really tough to putt out there. There were 50 people out there surrounding the greens and 40 of them cheering for Min Woo so it was tough.”
Winning his first state title clearly means a lot to the 22 year old who has capture all before him in a dominant 12 months.
“To get a home win front of my family and friends, I treasure it more. To have them here and see them all happy and enjoying my golf makes the win priceless really,” Watt said.
Watt is now on the verge of taking the World No 1 amateur ranking but it is something that that the humble Watt does not focus on. “It would be a nice recognition of my form and show that I’m on the right track but it’s not so important.”
Next up for Watt is a well earned break before heading to Tasmania to represent WA at the Australian Teams Championship in May.
Watt will then head to Europe and the US to compete in the British and US Amateur Championships were he will get the opportunity to test himself against the world’s best.
For Lee, she will also be heading to the US to defend her US Girls’ Amateur title and hope to challenge rival Lydia Ko of New Zealand for the US Women’s Amateur title.
And with the talent these two WA champions displayed this week it seems nothing is beyond them.