13 Apr 2023 | Amateur golf |
Swanwick, Jang take #AusJnr lead into day four
by Martin Blake
New Zealand’s Zack Swanwick leapt out of the pack with a stunning round to take the lead in the boys’ while Sydney’s Ann Jang clung to her advantage in the girls’ championship with a day remaining in the Australian Junior in Hobart.
Swanwick, 17, from Napier on the north island, has seen his home community heavily impacted by February’s horrific Cyclone Gabrielle, at one point having to borrow golf clubs because his own were lost in the wind and flooding.
But he ran hot at Tasmania Golf Club today shooting the low round of the week, a seven-under par 65, with six birdies and an eagle to pinch the lead.
He will begin Friday’s final round with a three-shot lead at 12-under par after rounds of 72-67-65.
Swanwick’s closest challenger Queensland’s Wes Hinton (nine-under) who shot a 70 today. Three other players sit at seven-under par overall and still in striking distance – Victoria’s Rupert Toomey, Western Australia’s Joseph Buttress and Queenslander Kai Komulainen.
With four wins at home in the past year Swanwick is one of New Zealand’s top prospects, but this is another level. “This would be a big one,” he said.
A final-year student at Taradale High School, he recently signed a commitment to attend the University of Florida on a golf scholarship in 2024.
But when the school sent its coach to scout him in February, he had no clubs to use, and Napier Golf Club was out of use because of the flooding (in fact, it remains closed and will not reopen for some time yet).
“The club got wiped away,” he said. “My clubs were stuck in the shed. I had to use another members’ clubs to go up to a tournament (at Palmerston North) for the coach to have a look at me.”
Swanwick has found his comfort zone at Tasmania Golf Club this week.
“I felt confident today,” he said. “Yesterday I was nervous on every hole but today I stuck with one ball flight and I played well.
“The grasses here feel similar to at home and I feel very normal with my irons and wedges off these surfaces.”
Jang began with a four-shot lead and remained on top all day, the buffer trimmed to three at the last hole when she took a bogey five.
The 15-year-old who was born in South Korea is at eight-under par after rounds of 71-67-73, and is in position to add to the NSW Junior Amateur championship she won in 2021.
Her main rival at five-under is New Zealander Eunseo Choi, who shot one-under 72 today.
But Queensland’s Haruhi Nakatani has a chance of making a late rush after she shot a four-under 69 today. Nakatani, a prolific winner out of Emerald Lakes Golf Club, is at three-under par overall, just five shots from the lead and still in contention.
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