17 Jan 2020 | National Championships |

Comeback King Elvis into #AusAm quarters

by Kirsty Wrice

Elvis Smylie wins 1-up over Ryan Peake on the 18th hole at Royal Queensland.
Elvis Smylie wins 1-up over Ryan Peake on the 18th hole at Royal Queensland.

As tomorrow's quarter finals loom, there's four players that can keep the men's Australian Amateur title in Australia, and three that can ensure it doesn't leave Queensland.

Reigning Australian Junior champion Elvis Smylie, Port Phillip Open Amateur winner Louis Dobbelaar and Royal Queensland's own Jed Morgan will fly the flag for this year's host state tomorrow – but it wasn't all smooth sailing on Friday.

In the morning’s round of 32, 17-year-old Smylie needed extra holes to keep his #AusAm title dreams alive, sending Kiwi Mako Thompson home with a birdie on the 19th.

But the afternoon’s match against WA’s Ryan Peake didn't look like it was going to fall the way of the No.42 seed, until very late in the day.

Smylie produced a brilliant up-and-down from the bunker on the par-4 5th (the pair's 14th) to win his first hole of the match, meaning he'd walk to the 6th tee only one hole behind.

Things started to unravel for Peak in the form of a plugged lie in a trap on seven and a loose tee shot up the 9th, the final hole of the day, that found a hazard.

Peak smashed driver off the deck and pitched to inches to set up par but the Gold Coaster cemented his spot in tomorrow’s quarter final clash with a comfortable half that resulted in a 1-UP win.

“I was down a lot during the day, but I just stuck to my game plan,” said Smylie.

“The two opponents I played were really good golfers and I’m just glad I got the two wins.

“I birdied the fifth, the long par-4, to get back in it and then the momentum rolled heading into the last couple and I was able to clutch it up which was nice.

“I love all the local support that is out and supporting us Queenslanders and hopefully they keep coming.”

Smylie will feature in tomorrow’s marquee match when he goes up against Royal Queensland’s own Jed Morgan.

He took down last year’s semi-finalist Jannik De Bruyn of Germany 4&3 to set up the tomorrow’s Queensland clash, but there was more good news for the locals.

Louis Dobbelaar also progressed to the weekend, thanks to a 2&1 victory over England’s Matthew Lamb.

Charlie Strickland ensured there’d be something to cheer about in the mother land after a gritty 4&2 win over ACT’s Harry Bolton.

Strickland has drawn the lone South Australian still standing in Brisbane, with Billy Cawthorne toppling Conor Whitelock 2&1.

England’s Ben Jones followed Strickland’s lead by ending the week of an Australian, this time it was UNLV student Jack Trent on the wrong side of a one-hole playoff loss.

Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin secured a 1-UP win over another Queenslander, Lawry Flynn, and he’ll have the chance to repeat that feat when he takes on Dobbelaar tomorrow.

And the day’s lead match didn’t end how 1-seed Andre Lautee would have envisioned, the Victorian going down to Kiwi James Hydes 3&2.

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