28 May 2024 | Amateur golf |

Mid-Amateur: Wooster and Mitchell are champions

by Golf NSW

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Colin Mitchell and Sue Wooster triumphed in Wollongong. Photo: David Tease Golf NSW

Colin Mitchell and Sue Wooster have been crowned the 2024 Australian Mid-Amateur champions after a thrilling final round at Wollongong Golf Club. Mitchell, from the Links Shell Cove, triumphed in a nail-biter, winning by a shot at the end of regulation play, while the highly credentialled Wooster required a fighting par in sudden-death to claim the women's crown after a playoff. In a historic turn of events, the national mid-amateur title was held in conjunction with the Srixon NSW Mid-Amateur Championship for the first time. This meant a double triumph for Mitchell and Wooster. For Mitchell, 48, the victory was his first national title after an exemplary amateur career, first in his native Scotland, who he represented in a Home Nations Championship at the senior level, but here in his adopted homeland. "I'm really happy, it's the first national title I've won," he said. "I've been in a few of these back home, and never got it over the line, but now it's done." Mitchell said the final round was a torrid affair, with everyone in the final group feeling the stress. "There was definitely tension on everyone's part. The lead went back and forth; I think we were all tied at one point." With the contest so close over the final holes, the Shell Cove gun first claimed the lead outright on the 11th and was determined to keep his nose in front until the end. However, sitting on the smallest of leads almost proved too much, and Mitchell nearly found a way to help his opponents back into the contest. It took a clutch downhill par putt at the 16th after finding trouble from the tee to harden his resolve over the closing holes. "I holed a couple of putts, which were crucial on the back nine, but then on 16, I hit it in the trees and had to pitch out. I holed about a 15-footer downhill just to save par. That was the decider, I reckon. "I knew from there I just had to stay out of trouble and a par - par finish would be good enough." In the women's, this year's championship contest quickly became a two-horse race between Wooster and overnight leader Gemma Dooley from NSW GC. The pair were quick out of the gates and established a comfortable buffer over their playing partners by the ninth hole. Wooster, however, proved to be the steadier player on the homeward run, edging to a two-shot lead with just a couple of holes to play. It was at this point the contest took a turn, and when the Victorian missed the green on the short par three 17th and could only make bogey, Dooley was back in the contest. Wooster compounded the problem on the last, missing the green long and again failing to get up and down to give Dooley her chance of a playoff, which she took with a clutch putt of about eight feet for par. Thankfully for the Victorian, and equally sadly for Dooley, the contest for the crown ended on the first playoff hole. After being forced to take a penalty drop after finding the water with her second shot, Dooley could not make par, and all that was left for Wooster to do was two-putt from the front of the green for the win. "Gemma and I had a really good day; it was neck-and-neck, all the way," said Wooster, a three-time national senior amateur champion. "I wasn't that nervous in the playoff. I just wanted to get that first putt not too far away, which I did." The win augers well for the highly credentialled Victorian who will soon head to the US to take on the northern hemisphere's best seniors. "This is my third national Mid-Amateur, I think, and my first NSW Mid-Amateur, so it's quite exciting." "I haven't been playing much golf lately, so this week bought the form back a bit. "It's been a while between tournaments; that's one of the reasons I came up." More than 220 players competed in this year's championship at Wollongong.


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