19 Nov 2019 | Amateur golf |

Lautee set for title defence, teenager on Song

by Martin Blake

Andre Lautee

Victorian Andre Lautee has a chance to defend the title he won at Huntingdale last year after he won a titanic semi-final struggle at the Victorian Amateur championship at Kingston Heath today.

Kingston Heath’s Lautee will play another Melburnian, Lukas Michel, in the men’s final. Both were members of Victoria’s most recent victory in Golf Australia’s interstate series in Hobart last May, with Lautee having a strong following at his home club in today’s quarter and semi-finals.

Meanwhile Sydney teenager June Song played her way into the women’s final by unseating Port Phillip Amateur champion Stephanie Kyriacou in one of the women’s semi-finals.

Song, 17, from Avondale Golf Club in Sydney, won 3 and 1 and will meet fellow New South Wales player Grace Kim in the final tomorrow.

Lautee’s semi-final against New South Wales player Nathan Barbieri was a highlight of the second day of competition, ultimately ending when the VIS scholarship-holder knocked his second shot inside two metres at the 18th and holed the putt to win, 1 up.

Michel took until the 22nd hole to beat Queenslander Lewis Hoath in the other semi-final. Michel is on his way to Augusta National to play the Masters tournament next April after he won the US Mid Amateur title recently.

The women’s semi-finals were highlighted by Song’s emergence as a genuine star at open-age level. Previously a New South Wales girls champion, the 17-year-old defeated her New South Wales compatriot Stephanie Kyriacou 3 and 1 in their semi-final.

Song’s victory came just days after Kyriacou won the Port Phillip Amateur. “I didn’t put any expectations on myself,” said Song. “Especially being matchplay. I know Steph’s a great player, and she played well, and I just tried not to make too many mistakes and keep up with her.’’

The match was tight until the 16th hole, where Song made a clutch birdie putt from three metres to extend her lead to two-up. At the 17th, Kyriacou three-putted and conceded the match.

Song, born in Australia of South Korean parents, has previously been a New South Wales girls champion. She is still completing year 12 studies at Tara Anglican Girls School in Parramatta.

Kim, 18, a former Australian junior champion and the 2018 Youth Olympics gold medallist, reached the final by beating Western Australian Abbie Teasdale in the other semi-final, confirming her own return to form.

The 36-hole finals tee off tomorrow morning at Kingston Heath.


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