16 Nov 2019 | Amateur golf |
Dobbelaar, Kyriacou triumph
by Martin Blake
Stephanie Kyriacou came from behind but Louis Dobbelaar blew everyone away to take respective women’s and men’s titles at the Port Phillip Open amateur championship at Kingston Heath today.
Sydney’s Kyriacou, 18, loves the Melbourne sandbelt conditions, having already won the Master of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne this year, the biggest triumph of her short career thus far.
She had five birdies and an eagle three at the par-five first hole at Kingston Heath today to eclipse the leaders and win the women’s title by two shots from her New South Wales compatriot, Grace Kim, who closed with a 68.
Starting the day at two-over par, tied-second behind Fiona Xu of New Zealand, Kyriacou rattled home with a 69 to take the 72-hole title from Kim with Victorian Stephanie Bunque third.
“The Melbourne courses are so good,” Kyriacou said. “I found the Commonwealth greens so challenging because they’re so firm, but coming here I’m more used to it, and that put me at ease.”
Dobbelaar, also 18, was dynamic today with a 70 in the morning and a 68 in the afternoon, reaching two-under par to win by five from Billy Cawthorne of Royal Adelaide at three-over par.
For the Queenslander, a previous winner of the New Zealand and Queensland amateur titles, it was vindication for hard work in a difficult year. The Brookwater Golf Club product had arthoscopic surgery on his right elbow early in the year and it has taken him most of 2019 to recover his confidence.
“The last 12 months have been tough,” he said. “I was out pretty much half the year. It’s been such a long road. The first couple of months were very difficult, and I’ve been trying to catch up.”
Dobbelaar made an early double bogey this afternoon at the par-three 15th from behind the green, but he was white hot from then on. “I was shaky early, but I was seven under my last 16, so I played really well after that,” he said. “It’s awesome. It’s so different to back home, but it’s a treat because the shots you hit is what you get. It’s a true test down here.”
As for Kyriacou, she is pondering her future that could include a US college career, or possibly turning professional. “I’m not too sure yet,” she said. “I’m deciding about college. It depends how I play in the next few months. Probably it (turning pro) could be the year after.”
The top 32 players in the men’s Port Phillip and the top 16 women qualified for the Victorian Amateur championship starting at Kingston Heath on Monday. Dobbelaar and Kyriacou will be the top seeds.
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