Sydney schoolgirl Shelly Shin has capped an incredible year to become the women’s Australian Amateur champion.
Shin, 16, a member of the white-hot Golf Australia national squad, toppled home-course hero Lizzie Elmassian at The Australian to win the 36-hole final convincingly 8-&-7 in sweltering conditions.
Shin, a member at Sydney’s Concord Golf Club, was 2-up after the morning round, but came out after the break and dominated with four birdies in the next six holes to take a stranglehold on the title, eventually winning on the 29th hole with a par.
“I birdied the first two holes (in the afternoon) and … was four under after six holes,” the modest Shin said.
“I thought I was going pretty good, I just had to keep it going … and managed to do it.
“It feels really good to have won this tournament – it’s the biggest tournament I’ve won.”
The win books Shin a berth in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne next month.
And ominously for the field, it appears Shin’s confidence and game are growing simultaneously.
“There’s still room for improvement,” she said.
It’s already been an incredibly successful 12 months for Shin, who won the Riversdale Cup and Queensland Amateur titles last year before being a member of the triumphant Australian unit at the World Teams Championship in Japan in September, alongside now professionals Minjee Lee and Su-hyun Oh.
Shin won the Lake Macquarie Amateur championship in a cakewalk earlier this month, then lead Australia to just its fifth win in the time-honoured Astor Trophy in Adelaide last week with a far less experienced team surrounding her.
Golf Australia high performance director Brad James said Shin was beginning to fulfill her enormous potential.
“She knows how to win –and it’s great to see her do it on such a great golf course,” James said.
“Her ability to play on these tough courses and to show she can win in tough conditions against a quality field like that is even more special,” James said.
Elmassian was enormous throughout the week, taking out several big-name opponents and began the final with a bang by making birdie on the first.
But she was unable to maintain the consistency of her opponent and despite several outstanding shots and sporadic birdies, was slowly worn down by her fellow Sydneysider in another outstanding result for Golf New South Wales.
Shelly Shin has won the 2015 women’s Australian Amateur championship.