09 May 2023 | Amateur golf |
SA, Queensland start fast at Interstate Matches
by Martin Blake
Queensland and South Australia are the unbeaten teams after day one of the Australian Interstate Teams Matches in Sydney, as the defending champion Victoria and home state NSW took what could be costly tumbles.
South Australia was runner-up to Victoria last year and took revenge against the Vics 5-3 in the first contest of the morning at St Michael’s Golf Club, then smashed Tasmania 8-0 in the afternoon to go 2-0 on the opening day.
The South Australians were driven by Jack Buchanan and Caitlin Peirce who won both their individual matches on a day when the wind blew at up to 50 km/h and made it tough for everyone.
The 21-year-old Buchanan beat Victoria’s Jasper Stubbs 2&1 in the morning after falling behind early, and then Tasmania’s Joey Bower 3&2 in the afternoon to live up to his reputation as one of the nation’s best amateurs.
Royal Adelaide’s Peirce, 20, a Karrie Webb Scholarship holder in 2022, rallied from 3-down with six holes to play in the morning match against Keeley Marx of Victoria to win at the final hole, but only after Marx lipped out with her par-putt from five metres in a heartbreaker finish. “It was looking little shaky,” she said later. “She (Marx) was playing well. I was 1-up going down 18, and I parred. She had a nasty lip-out.”
South Australia has a tougher road tomorrow with matches against Queensland and Western Australia, but has put itself in with a chance of winning the combined men’s and women’s championship.
“It was a pretty good day, good work by the team,” Peirce said. “Especially eight-and-zero this afternoon was nice. It’s probably a pretty different team to last year, but I think we felt pretty strong coming into it, so it was nice to get the win.”
Queensland looms as the nominal favourite after a brilliant opening day in which it accounted for Western Australia 5-2 and then a pivotal match against New South Wales in the afternoon, 5-3.
The Queenslanders run deep with 16-year-old Sarah Hammett a stand-out, winning both her matches.
But it was Brisbane Golf Club’s Sam Slater who provided the highlight for the Queenslanders.
Slater took down WA’s Connor Fewkes 3&1 in the morning but then confronted NSW gun Harrison Crowe, playing at his home course, in the afternoon – a daunting task to say the least.
The 21-year-old duly crushed Crowe 6&5 to complete a stellar day for both him and his team. “I was due, I’ll go with that,” he said. “He (Crowe) has beaten me in the past a couple of times. I wanted to get that win, which was good. I played very well, didn’t give him a sniff, which was good.”
Slater said the Queenslanders had come to Sydney ready for the assignment. “Two tough matches, but I think we prepared well,” he said. “I’m not surprised to be honest.”
The SA-Queensland match on Wednesday morning shapes as crucial, with the likelihood that only one team will remain unbeaten (other than if they tied).
Western Australia (0-2) made a disastrous start and looks to be out of the running barring a miracle, and Victoria’s disappointing start with the loss to SA was improved somewhat by the win against WA in the afternoon, with 14-year-old Amelia Harris standing tall again with two wins for the opening day along with her fellow Yarra Yarra clubmate Phoenix Campbell.
The Vics meet Tasmania and NSW on Wednesday and can’t afford any more losses.
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