14 Feb 2024 | Amateur golf |

Sixteen-year-old Sydney golfer lives the dream, shoots 59

by Martin Blake

Jamie Smith image
Jamie Smith with the scorecard and the ball he used to shoot 59.

Jamie Smith joined the elite band of golfers with a sub-60 round recently at Cromer Golf Club on Sydney’s northern beaches, but the 16-year-old did not even win the overall club competition that day.

It was a stableford competition, and his 59 off the stick with nine pars and an eagle gave him 44 points on the par-70 layout, but it was not quite enough to take the chocolates.

“A kid of 36 (handicap) had a bunch of pars and got me,” he said. “At least I won A Grade.”

Ironically Smith had snap-hooked his opening tee shot that day at Cromer, and shanked his tee shot at the par-3 second.

It was a less than inspiring start, but each time he made his up-and-down for par, and he caught fire from the time he birdied the par-5 third hole.

A few hours later, having eagled the 16th from tap-in range to reach 10-under and parred the 17th, he stood over a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-4 18th hole knowing that he needed to make that putt to break 60.

“It was downhill, hard right-to-left,” he said.

“I knew what it was for. It went in centre-cup. And it was going six feet by!”

Smith, a year 12 student at Australian Christian College in Marsden Park, was playing off a plus-3 handicap.

It’s the first time the Jack Newton Golf Foundation product has broken the mythical 60 barrier in an official sense, although he also did it at Manly Golf Club off white tees a while back, and he also shot 61 at Monash Country Club.

He was third in last year’s Queensland Amateur Strokeplay behind Billy Dowling, and he won the Harvey Norman Week of Golf across five courses in 2022.

His previous-best at home club Cromer was 9-under.

“I aim to shoot 6-under every time I play there,” he said. “It’s not that short, but it’s really wide, and if you’re a member, you know the lines that you can take. When I get hot, I can go low.”

British-born Smith is now off plus-four handicap and will travel to Vietnam soon to play the Faldo Series final representing Australia.

Plainly he is a player to watch. “I’ve been working on my swing since then. My swing wasn’t in a good place. My tempo was too quick and I was too far from the inside. We (he and coach Billy Watson at Long Reef Country Club) agreed that we’d make the changes from Australian Day, and this (round) happened on the 27th.

“Timing wasn’t ideal, but it’s a confidence-booster.”

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