Date: May 22, 2011

All smiles: the winners from the first half of 2011

We ve reached the halfway mark of the 2011 Championships with 11 of the 16 National Championships completed. The Australian Foursomes Championships kicked off the year at Riversdale Golf Club in February and March. In the Women’s Foursomes honours were shared for the third time in four years, with New Zealand pair Cecilia Cho and Lydia Ko taking the title with Australian-based Koreans Su Hyun-Oh and Lee Park. In the Men’sFoursomes New South Welshman Dimi Papadatos paired with Queenslander Kevin Marques to run away with the title. This led into Australia s oldest golf championships, the Srixon Australian Men’sand Women’s Amateurs, incorporating the Srixon Australian Stroke Play Championships. In the Women’s Stroke Play at Huntingdale Golf Club, New Zealand s Lydia Ko became the youngest ever winner at 13 years with a play-off victory against compatriot Cecilia Cho. On that result Ko became the number one player on the R & A World Amateur Rankings. The Stroke Play served as the qualifying rounds for the Australian Women’s Amateur Championship at Victoria Golf Club, with the top 32 players qualifying for the match play rounds. Tasmanian Ashlee Dewhurst played exceptionally to win her first national title in a thrilling final against Minjee Lee from Western Australia, winning on the 38th hole. The Australian Men’sStroke Play was contested at Woodlands and Victoria Golf Clubs with Queenslander Cameron Smith making birdie on the first play-off hole to defeat England s Dave Coupland. In the Amateur it was New South Welshman Matt Stieger who was crowned champion after downing New Zealand s Ben Campbell on the 36th hole. April saw the playing of the Australian Junior Championships. The Girls event was played on the challenging Newcastle layout with 16 year old Cathleen Santoso becoming the first girl from New South Wales since Sarah Kemp in 2003 to win the title. After bowing out in the Australian Amateur quarter finals, Santoso played consistent golf to win her first national crown. Following on from his Australian Stroke Play title, Cameron Smith backed up to win the Australian Boys Championship at Carnarvon Golf Club in Sydney. The National Squad member finished the championship at 9 under par to win by a massive eight shots from fellow National Squad member Jake Higginbottom. The Australian Junior Interstate Teams matches followed with the Girls series played at Pacific Dunes Golf Club in Newcastle and the Boys at Cabramatta Golf Club in Sydney. In the Girls series, the Queensland team of Christina Mew, Jamie Dougan, Zoe Field, Gennai Goodwin, Lauren Mason and Emily McLennan took home the Burtta Cheney Cup, giving Queensland their fourth win in six years. In the Boys series, the New South Wales team of Dillon Perry, Jarrod Freeman, Jake Higginbottom, Ricky Kato, Brayden Peterson and Nathan Waters were victorious, giving New South Wales their third consecutive win. Wrapping up the first half of the year was the Australian Men’sSenior Amateur Championship at Tanunda Pines Golf Club in the Barossa Valley. Number one ranked Australian Senior Stefan Albinski from NSW successfully defended his title with a five stroke victory over Rick Oliver, also from NSW. The win was Albinski s third national Senior s title and puts him in the company of other senior greats including Tony Gresham, Rodney Barltrop and Trevor Wood. The remainder of the year will see the playing of the Australian Interstate Teams Matches, the Australian Women’s Senior Amateur, the Australian Men’sSenior Match Play, the Australian Mid Amateur Championships and the Australian Secondary Schools Teams Championship. We are also more than halfway through the events for the awarding of the best player from the 2011 Australian Ranking Systems. In the Men’sRankings, Srixon Australian Amateur Champion Matthew Stieger has a solid lead over Brett Drewitt from NSW, with Cameron Smith third. In the Women’s Rankings, National Squad Members Jessica Speechley and Ashley Ona comfortably hold first and second positions, from Breanna Elliott. In the Junior Rankings, Cameron Smith appears unbeatable in the Boys Rankings, with Oliver Goss and Jake Higginbottom some work to do to close the gap. The Girls Rankings is a similar story, with National Squad Member up Minjee Lee comfortably ahead of Su-Hyun Oh and Jamie Dougan. In the Senior Rankings, for players 55 years and over, Stefan Albinksi is on track to win the Men’sRankings for the third consecutive year, with Denis Dale and Roy Vandersluis needing good results to catch him. The Women’s Senior Rankings is a much closer contest, with Josie Ryan currently ahead of Sylvia Donohoe, followed by Wendy O Connell. The Australian Women’s Senior Amateur to be played in October is sure to determine that final winner. The Ranking Systems continue to prove popular, with over 3,000 players having contested at least one Australian Ranking Event over the course of the last 12 months.