03 Apr 2024 | Amateur golf |

Hinson-Tolchard primed for Augusta

by Martin Blake

Hinson-Tolchard image
Maddison Hinson-Tolchard is turning pro as soon as her college career ends. Photo: Getty

Maddison Hinson-Tolchard can barely contain her excitement as she prepares to become the next Australian to compete at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur this week before turning pro.

On Monday the Karrie Webb Scholarship holder had a practice session at Champions Retreat, the venue for the first two rounds, and today she heads to the fabled Augusta National Golf Club for the chairman’s dinner.

After the opening two rounds of the 54-hole tournament on Wednesday and Thursday local time, there is the delicious thought of a Friday practice round at Augusta National, and – if she is one of the top 30 who make the cut – a Saturday final round at the home of the Masters and a chance to win one of the more prestigious of amateur events.

“I’m really excited,” Hinson-Tolchard said. “I actually came about three weeks ago and played Champions Retreat to kind of have first look at it, which was kind of cool. Today we were able to use the practice facilities.

“It’s a really cool place. When I came through, it was wet and the greens were barely running at an eight, I’d say. But today was as good as you could get it.”

Perth’s Hinson-Tolchard, a 22-year-old who is about to graduate from Oklahoma State University, and is just more than a month away from turning professional.

The date depends upon how deep into the NCAA Finals her Oklahoma Cowgirls, whom she helped to a national championship last year, can push.

Beyond that, it’s the professional circuit and a place that awaits her on the Epson Tour, the main feeder tour to the LPGA Tour in the United States.

“This is something I’ve been working towards for the last three years,” said Hinson-Tolchard. “It’s the last thing I wanted to tick off my list as an amateur, before I turn pro, so it’s pretty cool.

“I’ve had some time with Ritchie (coach Ritchie Smith) a couple of weeks ago in Dallas when he came to work with Minjee and Min Woo (Lee). That was good preparation. I’ve had two weeks to work on what we did together and I feel like I’m hitting it good.

“The greens are the hardest thing. They’ll be fast and firm, so I have to be in the right positions on the greens to give myself the best opportunity to make birdies.

“At Augusta there’ll be a ‘wow’ factor. I’m excited to go and play Amen Corner, that’s what I’ve been waiting for. But again, it’s just another round of golf, I have to put up a score and I’ll do my best to play as good as I can.”

Kirsten Rudgeley’s tied-eighth finish in 2022 is the best previous result by an Australian in the Augusta tournament, which is in its fifth playing this year. Aussies at the Augusta Invitational 2023 Justice Bosio MC 2022 Kirsten Rudgeley T8 Emily Mahar MC 2021 Grace Kim MC 2019 Julienne Soo MC

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