18 Jan 2020 | National Championships | Amateur golf |
It's Morgan v 'Mini McIlroy' in #AusAm decider
by Golf Australia
- By Justin Falconer
Local hero Jed Morgan is 24 hours away from being the toast of Royal Queensland following 31 holes of brilliance on Saturday at the 2020 #AusAm.
After taking care of the red-hot Elvis Smylie 3&2 in their quarter final, the Queenslander turned it up a notch after lunch against England’s Charlie Strickland.
Morgan rattled off eight birdies in 15 holes - including five in the last seven - to punch his ticket to tomorrow’s men’s final at his home club.
“I’d heard from the boys all week that Charlie was pretty fierce and a good player so mentally I knew I needed to play good and I needed to go beat him,” Morgan said.
“It’s awesome,” Morgan said, “I used to be scared of [the crowds] but I actually love it.
“I’ve met more members this week than I’ve met in the three years I’ve been a member here. I appreciate all the support I’ve gotten, that’s for sure.”
Morgan took a 2-UP lead on the back of a beautiful up-and-down for birdie from the front-left trap on the par-5 9th.
From that point on, the 20-year-old was sublime, winning with birdies at 11, 13, 14 and 15 where the match concluded, on the back of a concession from Strickland following Morgan’s precise chip to kick-in range.
He’ll likely have the support tomorrow of the Royal Queensland galleries but Morgan’s task will be no easier when he comes up against 17-year-old Northern Irishman Tom McKibbin.
The young gun learned the game at Holywood Golf Club, the club outside of Belfast made famous by lifetime member Rory McIlroy, and having played with superstar a number of times, considers McIlroy his mentor.
And if the Nike cap and polo shirt didn’t remind those watching of McIlroy on Saturday, McKibbin’s style might have.
McKibbin kept opponent Ben Jones of England at arm’s length for most of the day with seven birdies of his own as his putter stayed hot on his first trip Down Under.
The Northern Irishman went 2-UP at the driveable par-4 13th thanks to a beautiful birdie from the back bunker before a bogey at 14 - despite having an 80m advantage off the tee - halted his momentum.
A delicate 10-foot par save up and over a ridge at 15 kept McKibbin ahead and two halved holes later, the Northern Irishman slotted (yet another) six-footer down the hill to end proceedings.
“It was a great match against Ben, I always knew it was going to be tough,” McKibbin said.
"Obviously the weather at home isn’t great so I thought I had to come and find a few tournaments to play.”
Morgan and McKibbin’s marathon match will begin at 8:00am local time tomorrow.
The Queenslander will be hoping for his first national-level crown in his home state tomorrow, while McKibbin will be looking to make it back-to-back Irish winners.
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