30 Apr 2024 | Amateur golf |

Phillips, Jessen win Vic Amateur champs

by Golf Australia

Phillips and Jessen with their historic trophies.

Imogen Jessen from Kooyonga and Blake Phillips from Concord are the Victorian Amateur champions after they won finals at Victoria Golf Club today.

Phillips, 21, from North Ryde, is on a roll having won a NextGen Amateur event in Sydney little more than a week ago, and having sunk the winning putt in Concord’s Golf NSW Pennant final, the club’s first division one victory in 73 years, only five weeks ago.

Today he beat Kingston Heath’s Abel Eduard 1-up at the 18th hole for “by far” his biggest title and his first state championship.

“It’s a pretty cool experience, definitely something I’ll never forget,” he said afterward.

It was a rollercoaster ride in the final. The New South Welshman was 4-up through eight holes, then Eduard began to reel him in. At the par-3 14th hole Phillips went left into a greenside trap and took two to exit the sand, then he three-putted the 15th and it was all square, the momentum firmly with the Victorian.

Phillips had to dig deep, and the presence of his PGA Professional father Glenn (currently general manager at Strathfield Golf Club in Sydney) on his bag began to have an impact.

“I lost it there for a bit,” he said. “I had a talk with my dad. I mean, we were 4-down for the back nine but even for the match, so we were still in it. I had to go out and play my game plan and not worry about what he (Eduard) was doing and fortunately, it came off.”

At the par-3 16th Eduard found a greenside trap, flew his bunker shot on to and then over the green, and a double bogey saw him concede the hole. At the 17th, the Victorian messed up two chips from close range, and conceded again to go 1-down.

Only needing to halve the par-5 18th for the victory, Phillips hit a 350-metre drive over the hill and a wedge to 20 feet, leaving Eduard, who was bunkered to the right, needing a miracle. A conceded birdie for the Concord member was enough for the win.

It came down to a battle of the South Australians in the women's championship, with Kooyonga's Imogen Jessen coming up against the formidable Caitlin Peirce from Royal Adelaide.

A few years Peirce's junior, Jessen was out to prove a point in the final, getting out to a strong early five-up lead through seven holes.

Not going down without a fight however, Peirce clawed her way back to within two, and still had a chance to win it as the pair stood on the 16th tee.

A pair of pars on the par-3 16th meant the match was dormie, and as both players made strong birdies on the 17th, Jessen was finally able to celebrate a 2&1 win.

"It's nice to win something, nice to see all the hard work pay off," she said.

"It's always lovely playing against Caitlin because we've always been teammates, we've always been hanging out so it was nice and friendly competition but it was definitely nice to get the upper-hand."

Jessen came into the match-play section confident after a strong top-10 finish in the qualifying at Commonwealth, but had a fierce local contingent of players to contend with.

The 18-year-old managed to overcome three Victorians on her way to the final in Feiyu Xing, Gracie Larsen and Jaehee Yun.

This win is positive momentum ahead of next week's Interstate Teams Matches on the Gold Coast where she will be representing her state, this time playing alongside Peirce rather than against her.

Today's championships were the postponed 2023 editions of the Victorian Amateur, the original being deferred late last year because of incomplete renovations at Commonwealth, one of the venues.

There will be a 2024 Victorian Amateur played later this year.

Men's results

Women's results

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