Men's Avondale Medal
In the end, a final-hole bogey was enough.
Joshua Armstrong managed to keep his cool demeanour and see off the challenges during a thrilling final round to claim the Avondale Amateur Title at Avondale Golf Club.
The win is also the 17-year old's first national ranking event title, and it's likely not to be his last.
Armstrong started the day with a one-shot lead over a bunch of more experienced opponents, including his final-round playing partners, Englishman Jack Singh Brar, and last week's Australian Amateur Medallist, Kevin Yuan.
If the youngster's game was going to suffer from the pressure of being in the final group, he certainly didn't show it. The threats came firstly from Newcastle's Blake Windred, playing in the group in front of him, and later, his final round playing partner, the Englishman Singh Brar.
Windred threw down the challenge early, offering up three birdies in his opening seven holes to get within a shot of Armstrong. He stumbled however as he made the turn for home, and bogeys on the 10th, 11th, and 12th saw him fall away.
It was left to the Englishman, Singh Brar to challenge Armstrong's lead. After a couple of disappointing bogeys on the front nine, Singh Brar turned his fortunes around with a birdie on the 10th hole, just as Armstrong made a bogey. The pair matched birdies on the 12th, but from then the Englishman was unable bite any further into Armstrong’s lead.
Faced with a substantial lead with only a couple of holes to go, Armstrong could’ve been excused for feeling a bit of pressure and after a bogey on the relatively short par four 17th hole, the young man did begin to feel some butterflies.
“I felt so uncomfortable off the tee (18th) all week, but I said to Dean (Kinney, his caddie), every day I’ve hit three wood, I was just going to hit a fade off the left side, and I did that today,”
After just missing the green to the right with his second, Armstrong chipped about ten feet past the hole and then calmly two-putted to grab the win.
“It was a good day, all day,” Armstrong grinned. “ It feels nice to win, my first one in the men’s ranks.”
Asked about the pressure of leading for 54 holes Armstrong smiled, “I tried to focus on playing golf this week, I didn’t focus on being in front at all, maybe in the last couple of holes, I was just trying to enjoy it.”
‘Mum and dad are going to be pretty happy with the win,” he grinned.
Defending Champion Harrison Endycott gave himself a glimmer of hope, reaching 10-under par with just the final hole to play, but a second shot which flew hopelessly long over the back of the 18th Green derailed his small chance, and, after being forced to take an unplayable lie, the Avondale local ended with a quadruple eight on his card to finish.
England’s Bradley Moore finished third, without doubt the highlight for him was holing a spectacular bunker shot on the last to the delight of the gallery.
The Vintage Golf Club’s Dylan Perry finished fourth, while Western Australian Min Woo Lee carded a well crafted five-under par 66 for the round of the day to finish in a tie for fifth with Canadian Stuart MacDonald.
Women's Avondale Medal
Korean Ga Young Lee didn’t let the threat of her competition overcome her during the final round of the Avondale Amateur, after all, she started with a lead of 13, and eventually ended up winning by 13 shots. Her challenge for the final round was to reach the 30-under par mark.
“My goal was to shoot five under today. I wanted to finish 30 under par but couldn’t do it; I feel a bit disappointed for myself,”
“I didn’t worry about the gap between me and the rest of the field. I knew it was big.
“It was just about me and my goal,” the quietly spoken Korean beamed.
The performance of Lee and the four-round total, 28-under par, will go down as one of, if not the best, performance ever seen in Australian women's golf.
Filling the next six places behind Lee were her Korean teammates. The best local was New South Wales Golf Club’s Hannah Park, who closed with a well crafted 3-under par 69.
It was Lee however that was the undoubted superstar of the week.
When asked how her parents at home had reacted to her performance, she added; ”Dad said it was unbelievable, to keep it up and do my best, they are very proud.
With only a few days before she defends her NSW Women’s Amateur title, the 17-year old was unsure about how she and her teammates would celebrate the win. She laughed at the suggestion of a few hamburgers.
“I haven’t thought about it, nothing much, just practice tomorrow,”
“I want to win again.” She smiled.