28 Aug 2020 | Amateur golf |

Higo, Dobbelaar take Qld Ams

by Martin Blake

Queensland Am image
Louis Dobbelaar and Lion Higo celebrate their wins.

Louis Dobbelaar won his second Queensland Amateur and Lion Higo her first as the championships were wrapped up at Arundel Hills Golf Club on the Gold Coast today.

For Higo, 17, it is a nice parting victory as she heads off to start a college career at Pepperdine University in the United States next January.

A runner-up at last year’s national junior amateur title, the Gold Coast’s Higo clinched the biggest win of her short career by knocking in a curling, 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole of the final against Mirabel Ting, winning 3 & 1.

Dobbelaar, 18, added another title to his long list of triumphs, having won this event in 2018 and also been a New Zealand and Victorian Amateur winner and a past Queensland junior champion. He turns 19 this weekend and is eyeing off the professional tours.

Higo’s victory over another teenager, Mirabel Ting, was supremely hard-fought. Ting, representing The Hills International Golf Club and originally from Malaysia, was four up through four holes and still held that buffer through eight holes.

But Higo would not give in, willing herself to stay in the contest. “I just told myself to hang in there and it came around for me,” she said.

She won three straight holes, took the lead with a birdie from close range at the par three 15th hole, and then produced a thunderclap of a finish at the par-four 17th. From long range and putting across a deep tier, she holed her birdie putt to close it out. “I was just thinking it would be good to two-putt it,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that it went in.’’

Higo, the child of two Japanese emigrants, was rapt to win her state title, having represented Queensland at Interstate series at both junior and senior level but never having at national level. “I’ve had good rounds in big events before but not been able to get the win,” she said.

Meanwhile Dobbelaar’s victory in the final over South Australia’s Jack Tanner in the men’s final also came at the 17th green when his par was conceded by Tanner.

The 2018 Queensland Amateur champion out of Brookwater had two eagles in the final – one at the short par-four fifth hole and another at the par-five 14th from 15 feet, and birdied four holes in a row from the eighth to take control of the match.

Strokeplay champion Elvis Smylie had been knocked out in the semi-final, which helped a little.

“Whoever ended up in the final, they were there for a reason,’’ said Dobelaar. “It was going to be a tough match so I don’t think it was going to be any easier with Elvis not in the final. It was matchplay and I did what I had to do to get it.”

Dobbelaar is hoping to turn professional relatively soon, although the Covid-19 pandemic has complicated matters. A quiet 2020 because of the events cancelled followed a 2019 that was interrupted by elbow surgery.

“Everything’s going pretty good,” he said. “Last year was an important development year, and the same this year. There haven’t been many tournaments on, but I’ve developed as a player and a person.

“I don’t have an idea (about the future) at the moment. I don’t know with Covid whether the tour schools are on. I’ll make the right decision when it comes to it. Hopefully in the next couple of years it’ll be clearer, but I’ll play it by ear.”Results

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