08 Mar 2021 | Isuzu Queensland Open |

Girl power milestone on #IWD

by Contributor

- By Jim Tucker

Gold Coast golfer Jordan O’Brien flew the flag proudly for International Women’s Day with a stunning 67 on Monday to qualify for the Isuzu Queensland Open.

Birdies will always beat biceps because the petite 56kg amateur grabbed eight at Pelican Waters Golf Club to leave a host of male pros and amateurs in her wake.

Despite regularly giving up 30-40m off the tee to her three male playing partners, she rode her own excellent driving and short game to the biggest moment of her career.

The Royal Pines member played the course off the same tees as the men albeit from the forward markers in operation for pre-qualifying day.

“I just went out and tried my absolute best. I wasn’t really expecting it to be honest so the feeling is incredible. I’m stoked,” O’Brien, 24, said.

“My coach (Ali Orchard) had told me ‘see it, feel it, trust it, you’ve only got something to gain today’ and I kept repeating that in my head.”

O’Brien grabbed one of just 12 prized spots from pre-qualifying at Pelican Waters where 100 players teed up.

Melbourne’s Brad Kivimets, from Victoria Golf Club, led the way by firing 10 birdies in a superb nine-under-par 63 in his first full round on the course.

At Virginia Golf Club, Allesandro Noseda, with his four-under 67, led the qualifiers which included 2016 NSW Open champion Adam Blyth (70) and gun Emerald Lakes amateur Kai Komulainen (70).

O’Brien said the 2018 effort of now-pro Becky Kay to create history as the first female to qualify for the Queensland Open was inspiring.

“Absolutely it is when you see other girls able to do it,” O’Brien said of how powerful role models are across all women’s sports in Australia.

“Just the feeling of being able to compete with the men off the same tees increases your confidence majorly.

“The game is moving in that direction to include women. To have spots available at this tournament is awesome and also what they are doing with the WPGA and the new Athena event.”

Queensland Open organisers had already taken the progressive step of inviting five top female players directly into Thursday’s field...Kay, Steph Kyriacou, Karis Davidson, Sarah Wilson and Grace Kim.

Kivimets, 26, who works casually on the ground staff at Royal Melbourne, got a surprise that pre-qualifying used the forward tees.

“It was my first proper round on the course. Absolutely no complaints...I had quite a few wedges into greens and felt comfortable with the grain on the greens which is very different to Melbourne,” Kivimets said.

It was validation of how he spent the strict lockdown months in Victoria last year.

“I set up a net in the front yard, got a little home gym sorted out and even put a putting mat in the spare room so I didn’t waste the time,” he said.

For Caloundra amateur Chris Crabtree (67), there was pressure of a different sort...qualifying just 10 minutes from home so friends and family have a personal interest in Thursday’s first round.

Billy Dowling (68), a 16-year-old amateur from the Surfers Paradise Golf Club, got through while 13-year-old Pelican Waters prodigy Alfie Ward (75) will be back to try again.

Brisbane’s Chris Somerfield (68) birdied the opening two holes of a play-off to grab his qualifying spot at Pelican Waters.

QUALIFIERS

  • Pelican Waters GC, par 72 - Final leaderboard

    • 63: Brad Kivimets, 66: Sam Slater (a), 67: Chris Crabtree (a), Jordan O’Brien (a), Blaike Perkins (a), 68: Taylor Barr (a), Justin Morley (a), Travis Robbie (a), Conor Whitelock (a), Billy Dowling (a), Andrew Park (a), 69: Chris Somerfield (in playoff).

    • Alternates: Matias Sanchez (2) and Joshua Maddison (4)

  • Virginia GC, par 71 - Final leaderboard

    • 67: Alessandro Noseda, 68: Sam Howse (a), 69: Jack Munro, 70: Adam Blyth, James Douris, Ben Wharton, Nicklaus Rogers, Jamie Pitt (a), Guxin Chen (a), Kai Komulainen (a), 71: Will Florimo (a) (in playoff), Peter Martin (in playoff).

    • Alternates: Matthew Rodgers (1) and Matt McLean (3)

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