Western Australian Hannah Green and Cameron John from Commonwealth have won the respective 2015 Women’s and Men’s Victorian Amateur Championships after the 36-hole finals were played at the Commonwealth Golf Club on Wednesday 16 December.
Western Australian Hannah Green (Mount Lawley GC) and Victorian Cameron John (Commonwealth GC) have won the respective 2015 Women’s and Men’s Victorian Amateur Championships after the 36-hole finals were played at the Commonwealth Golf Club on Wednesday 16 December.
Under clear blue skies but with a brisk south-easterly breeze making scoring challenging, 18-year-old Green defeated Victoria’s Stephanie Bunque 3&2 in a high quality display of ball striking. Similarly, in the Men’s final, the prodigiously talented 16-year-old John produced a stellar display of sub-par golf to defeat Metropolitan’s David Micheluzzi 6&4.
The morning round of the Men’s final set the platform for John’s victory, particularly as he had to withstand a withering start from 19-year-old Micheluzzi. With John finding trees at the 1stto lose the opener, Micheluzzi than played a spectacular second shot at the par-five 2ndto a metre. The resulting eagle doubled the advantage which then grew to three holes after the Victorian State team member made a birdie at the 4th.
A winner of the Argentine Amateur in November, John soon settled and won the 6thwith a par after Micheluzzi found green side sand and then the 7thand 8thwith regulation figures to level proceedings. The teenager then went into overdrive taking the par-five 10thwith a four; 12thwith a par after an offline Micheluzzi drive; 15thwith a par three and then a further birdie on the 17thto open up a four-hole gap. After finishing short and right of the green at the long par-four 18thplaying back into the wind, Micheluzzi played an exquisite pitch and holed from two metres to save par and keep the margin manageable at the halfway mark of the final.
However, John’s inward half of four-under 33 for an overall score of 70 during the morning round was a sign of further sub-par fireworks immediately after the lunch break. After halving the opening two holes of the afternoon round in birdies, John birdied the 4thto extend the lead to five-holes. With Micheluzzi safely on the 5thgreen in regulation and John over the back of the green with his approach, it seemed the margin would be reduced.
John played what was perhaps the pivotal shot of the final by holing out for a birdie using his putter from approximately 25 metres. When Micheluzzi missed his birdie attempt, John’s lead increased to six holes. Runner-up at this year’s New South Wales Amateur, Micheluzzi continued to challenge and after matching pars at the 6thand 7th, won the 8thwith a birdie three and then again at the 11thto cut the deficit back to four-holes.
After an errant tee shot into the left side trees at the 12th, John rescued par after being forced to chip out to halve the hole and then regained the momentum with an eagle at the 440-metre par-five 13thto go back to five-up. A final crowning birdie at the 14thsealed the Men’s final for John, who was nine-under par across the day in becoming one of the youngest Men’s Victorian Amateur Champions in the events century long history. The quality of his iron play in particular was especially impressive and in total he was a staggering 24-under par throughout the Victorian Amateur Match Play rounds.
John was elated with his victory, stating it’s the best golf he has ever played.
“It’s definitely the best golf I’ve ever played, to go 24-under overall anywhere is pretty impressive, especially at two of my favourite courses in Kingston Heath and Commonwealth,” said John.
The Women’s final saw Australia’s number two ranked female player in Green off to a fast start taking the 2n with a birdie four and the 4thwith a par to establish a two-hole lead over Bunque, winner of this year’s South Australian Women’s Amateur. In what was to become a pattern throughout an enthralling final, Bunque fought back to win the par-five 6thwith a birdie before levelling the match with a par at the 8th.
Runner-up to Lydia Ko at New Zealand Women’s Open earlier in 2015, Green re-established a two-hole lead with pars at the 10thand 11th. A birdie to Bunque at the 13thmomentarily cut the margin before Green went two holes clear again with a par at the 14th. Bunker trouble at the par three 15thand a cast iron par to Bunque saw Green’s lead drop back to one hole which remained the margin until the end of the morning round.
Bunque quickly levelled the final at the opening hole of afternoon round before Green rose to the challenge with birdies at the 2ndand 3rdto stretch the margin to two holes once again. Bunque took the 4thwith a par and then drew level at the 140-metre 7thwith a regulation three. After the 8thwas halved in par four’s, Green then played a decisive stretch of holes with three consecutive birdies from the 9thto get to three-up through the 11th, the latter coming after a monstrous drive across the dog-leg.
However, Green’s 18-year-old opponent refused to yield and won the 12thwith a par and then the par-five 13thwith a four to reduce the margin back to one-hole with five holes remaining. The Women’s final had reached the crucial stage and Green responded in style with birdies at the 14thand 15thto get back to a three hole advantage and ultimately Championship winning lead. Drama still followed at the 16thwhen after driving through the dog-leg into the trees, Green managed to find the right greenside bunker with her second after clipping a tree with a low approach. With a great bunker recovery to two metres, the Mount Lawley GC member holed the putt for par and the Women’s title.
Following her victory, Green said the magnitude of the victory hadn’t quite sunk in yet.
“I don’t think it’s sunk yet. I’ve been working quite hard the past few months, so it’s good to have it pay off. I’m sure I’ll realise tonight that I’ve won,” Green stated.
The Victorian Men’s & Women’s Amateur Championships are the most prestigious amateur events on the Golf Victoria’s calendar. First played in 1894 (Women) & 1899 (Men), both Championships are well over a century old.