Date: December 03, 2014
Author: Mark Hayes / www.golf.org.au

Drakeford leaves amateur ranks behind with world gong

It’s all happening for Geoff Drakeford.

Not only did the Victorian put his name up in lights at the weekend’s Emirates Australian Open, he was this week named in a world “all-amateur” team by an American-based golf e-magazine.

Drakeford, 22, made the national championship his first tournament as a professional – and didn’t let anyone down when he was three under and on the front page of the leaderboard on Friday night.

And although he fell from contention on Saturday with a nightmare back nine en route to an 81, his closing 71 ensured him a T35 finish in the high winds that whipped The Australian.

While many of his feats have gone largely unnoticed with some of his amateur mates shining in professional events, Drakeford’s world-class resume earned him top billing from the Global Golf Post judges.

The former forestry worker was chosen in the world’s top 10 amateurs of 2014, outpointing all of his peers and highlighting the Golf Australia national squad member’s global standing.

Drakeford made it all the way to the final stage of qualifying school for the European Tour last month, but fell at the last hurdle in Spain.

But in a stellar final phase of his amateur career he won the Porter Cup in New York, was runner-up at the Southern Amateur and Scottish Open Amateur events and T8 at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne.

None of the other heralded Golf Australia amateurs coming through the ranks made either the first or second teams, although Antonio Murdaca, Todd Sinnott and Lucas Herbert each received honourable mentions from the judges.

Outstanding youngsters Minjee Lee and Su-hyun Oh both made the women’s world all-amateur team after their brilliant junior careers were capped by being part of Australia’s successful World Amateur Teams Championship squad in September.

Both newly professional, Lee and Oh are in Florida this week at the final stage of the LPGA Tour’s qualifying school.

In the other squads awarded, Victorian Mark Boulton was given an honourable mention in the men’s mid-amateur division; Queensland’s Katrina Jones was in the second team of the women’s mid-amateurs; Gordon Claney and Brian Sams rated honourable mentions in the men’s senior amateur ranks; Sue Wooster was second team in the women’s senior amateurs, just ahead of Robyn Puckett who received an honourable mention.

For a full list of the top amateurs, see http://digitalmag.globalgolfpost.com/20141201#&pageSet=32&page=0