01 Oct 2020 | Amateur golf |

Jacobs hunts hometown victory

by Martin Blake

Charley Jacobs SA Am image
Charley Jacobs during her semi-final win at Mt Osmond today.

Teenager Charley Jacobs has raised the prospect of an overdue hometown victory at the South Australian Amateur.

Glenelg’s Jacobs, 18, won her way into the women’s final with a semi-final victory over Amelia Whinnie today at Mt Osmond, and will confront Queenslander Sarah Wilson in tomorrow’s 36-hole final.

She would be the first South Australian winner of the women’s title since Sarah King in 2011.

In the men’s final, Josh Armstrong from the New South Wales elite amateur squad will meet Queensland’s Sam Slater tomorrow.

Jacobs and Wilson were tied at one-over par in the stroke play portion of this event earlier in the week, with Wilson only being declared the medallist on countback because a weather delay stole the time required for the customary playoff.

Jacobs grew up in a golfing family on the Yorke Peninsula and has been a wunderkind at state level: in the state team at 14, Glenelg club champion at 16 and winner of the Dunes Medal last year. In January, she heads to the United States to take up a scholarship at Iowa State University.

But this is a big moment for her, at home in Adelaide. “It would be awesome to win your home state amateur,” she said after the semi-final. “That would be amazing.”

Jacobs was perturbed to miss out on medallist honours but happy to be back playing in the Covid-19 interrupted environment. “That was pretty disappointing,” she said. “The first round it was weird to be playing competitively again. I’m happy with my game and excited to get some redemption on Sarah tomorrow after that countback.”

She was four up after seven holes of this afternoon’s semi-final before Whinney came back strongly. At the par-three 16th, she lipped out with a putt of just more than a metre to win the match, but ultimately they both parred the 17th and it was over.

“It was nerve-wracking towards the end,” said Jacobs, who enjoys the cut and thrust of matchplay. “It brings out the best out of me. If you mess up, that’s okay. It brings out the aggressive side of me, for sure.”

The men’s final is an all-interstate affair with today’s highlight being Armstrong taking out the defending men’s champion, Lewis Hoath, setting up potentially his biggest win.

The 21-year-old Armstrong, who is originally from Canberra but more recently plays out of Concord in Sydney, beat Queensland’s Hoath 3 and 2 in the semi-final today, completing the victory with a five-metre birdie putt that dropped at the 16th hole.

Armstrong has never won a state amateur although he was a semi-finalist in SA in 2018 and he has a string of top-10 finishes in big events, including fifth in the Riversdale Cup and ninth at the Master of the Amateurs this year. He also finished inside the top five against the professionals at the Isuzu Queensland Open earlier this year.

But his last victory was the stroke play medal at the Avondale Amateur in 2017.

If he had his way, Armstrong would have already turned professional having qualified for the Korn Ferry Tour right now. But the Covid-19 tumult has changed everything; the tour school was postponed and Armstrong has had to wait. “Covid’s delayed the plans to turn pro,” he said. “I haven’t been able to do much back in Sydney, just practise and play a bit.”

Which gives him some time to complete a fine amateur career if he can win tomorrow over Slater. Today, he was unstoppable against Hoath, one of the best-credentialled players in the field. “Lewis played good,” he said. “I played pretty solid and I didn’t really give him too much, to be honest.

“I got up early and I pretty much stayed up the whole match, really. I lost a couple with lazy three-putts but other than that, Lewis played good, and I finished strong as well.’’

Slater, who was third in the Queensland Amateur earlier this year, beat local hope Jack Thompson one up in the other semi-final today.

The men's final begins at 7.45am tomorrow with the women's at 7.55am.

Men's scores, tee times

Women's scores, tee times

Josh Armstrong SA Am image
Josh Armstrong on his way to the final of the SA Amateur today.

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