16 Jan 2020 | National Championships | Amateur golf |
Barbieri marches on after #AusAm epic
by Golf Australia
- By Justin Falconer
Thursday’s men’s match of the day was Final-worthy before a ball had been struck.
And after 18 holes – where none of the last nine were halved – Nathan Barbieri and Lukas Michel delivered an Australian Amateur epic.
New South Welshman Barbieri, who finished runner-up last year after a brutal 37-hole marathon, won the final two holes of the day on his way to a 2-UP triumph punctuated with a 12-foot birdie on the last.
“Towards the end it was just birdies back and forth so I’m glad to get the win,” said Barbieri.
“The first match is always important, especially coming up against Lukas.
“I was fighting a draw most of the back nine, so I was just aiming right by the end of it.”
Michel, who is headed to The Masters and the US Open in 2020 after winning last year’s US Mid-Am, squared the match on 10 with a chip-in for eagle from the front of the par-5’s green.
A par at 11 put the Victorian ahead but Barbieri won three of the next four holes to edge himself in front with three to play.
With Barbieri three feet from the hole on 16, Michel ramped up the pressure by holing a bomb for birdie.
World No.113 Barbieri missed from close to concede the hole but after Michel twice failed to climb the bank from the right of the par-3 17th green, Barbieri would regain his 1-UP lead up the last.
Both men blistered their drives up 18 before Barbieri stiffed his approach to twelve feet past the centre-cut pin.
Not to be outdone, Michel stepped up and stopped his second inside his opponent’s, before the New South Welshman walked his birdie try in, securing a memorable 2-UP win.
When a brief lighting delay struck earlier in the day, the Sunshine Coast’s Chris Crabtree was the only player to be back in the clubhouse with a win to his name after a clinical 6&5 victory over Junior Presidents Cup representative Jang Hyun Lee.
Australia’s second-highest ranked player in this week’s field, Jack Thompson, was done for the day soon after on the back of a 5&3 triumph, setting up a blockbluster Rd of 32 clash with No.1 seed, and his roommate for the week, Andre Lautee (4&3).
University of Nevada Las Vegas student Jack Trent, Australia’s highest player in the men’s world rankings, saluted 3&1 over James de Sousa to also progress.
Lawry Flynn won his all-Maroon clash over Royal Queensland member James Mee 4&3, despite Mee having the added benefit of European Tour pro and close mate Jake McLeod on the bag.
Meanwhile, fellow Queenslanders Louis Dobbelaar (5&4), Elvis Smylie (6&4), Lewis Hoath (3&2) and Jed Morgan (4&3) gave the local fans even more to cheer about.
He left his run late, but rising star Tyler Duncan also came to the party, the Redcliffe GC member needing a gruelling 23 holes to put away Aiden Didone.
Duncan was two holes clear for much of the back nine but a stunning fight back from the Victorian pushed Duncan all the way, Duncan eventually becoming the 10th Queenslander to progress to the Rd of 32 for the day.
The men will be first on course in the morning, before the 16 winners head back out in the afternoon to complete a marathon 36-hole day.
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