14 Dec 2021 | Amateur golf |
NSW double at Vic Amateur
by Dane Heverin
St Michael's pair Harrison Crowe and Kelsey Bennett have taken out the Victorian Amateur in two tight finals at Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club today.
Crowe overcame Order of Merit winner Jack Buchanan 2&1 to go back-to-back at the Victorian Amateur, while Bennett defeated decorated junior Jeneath Wong 3&2 to cap off her stellar year.
In the men’s final, Crowe got out to an early lead with a birdie on the third and edged further ahead with another birdie on the eighth before Buchanan hit back either side of the turn.
The South Australian won three holes in a row to grab the lead for the first time but it slipped from his grasp just as quickly as he grabbed hold of it.
Crowe responded immediately to win the next two holes and he remained one-up until his incredible tee shot on the par-3 17th secured the victory.
“I saw Chris Fan (fellow New South Welshman who lost his semi-final to Buchanan) in the background and he was throwing his hands up so I thought ‘oh that must have gone close’,” Crowe said of the gimme birdie.
“It looked in and I think I would have apologised to Jack if it went in. That settled the nerves that shot. I was quite nervous the last few holes there so to get it done, I’m pretty stoked.”
Despite a tee shot icing the match, the Sydneysider credited his putting as the reason for his triumph.
“Being able to come from Kingston Heath and Commonwealth - where I putted dreadfully - and to flick the switch and get confident on the greens really did it for me. I’m very proud of myself.”
At the same time Crowe’s win was confirmed, Bennett shook hands with Wong on the neighbouring 16th green.
It was not all smooth sailing for Bennett, who finished runner-up in the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship last month, as her Victorian opponent took it up to her in a high-quality match.
Both players reached the turn two-under par for the match to be all square, but Bennett pushed ahead when Wong bogeyed the 11th before she showed her class with back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th.
Three up with three to play, the Sydneysider played one more disciplined hole to make par, halve the hole and ensure that she would be holding the trophy.
The victory is Bennett’s third of the year - she also won the NT Women’s Amateur and the Tasmanian Open Championship - and she said afterwards that she received some extra inspiration heading into the matchplay component of the tournament.
“Karrie Webb actually messaged me saying ‘congrats’ when I won the Port Phillip (the strokeplay) so it was a good boost coming into the matchplay,” Bennett - who recently spent time with Webb and Hannah Green in the US - said.
“Today I played pretty well. I was a bit funny off the tee but my wedge game was really good. I was hitting some good shots into the green.”
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