Su-Hyun Oh from Metropolitan and Queensland’s Taylor MacDonald have won the respective 2012 Women’s and Men’s Victorian Amateur Championships after the 36-hole finals were played at the Yarra Yarra Golf Club on Wednesday 19 December.
In overcast, windy and humid conditions, 16-year-old Oh defeated fellow teen prodigy and current World No. 4 women’s amateur Minjee Lee five and three in a high quality display of near faultless golf.
Similarly in the Men’s final, Macdonald who hails from the Redcliffe Golf Club in Brisbane produced steady par golf throughout the day to defeat Kingswood’s Anthony Houston four and three.
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The morning round of the Men’s final set the platform for MacDonald’s victory. After Houston had established an early lead, sub-par golf from the three-time Queensland State player and some uncharacteristic errors from 20-year-old Houston saw his opponent get to a four hole lead at lunch. Despite reducing the margin to three holes early in the afternoon round, the windy conditions in particular were making birdies hard to come by and relentless par golf from MacDonald was not creating any opportunities for Houston to further bridge the gap.
With the final nine to play, MacDonald had re-established his four hole lead and had the Men’s Championship in his sights. Errant tee-shots on the 12th and 13th and resultant bogeys to MacDonald briefly created chances which Houston couldn’t capitalize on as he also failed to make pars on the holes in question. Further regulations figures on the 14th and 15th saw the Queenslander win the biggest title of his amateur career.
The Women’s final was a close affair during the morning round with the lead swapping between the players throughout. Lee, the current US Junior Girls Champion, led by two holes after the 5th before Oh responded with two pars and a birdie to take her own one hole lead by the turn. Lee again fought back and regained a one hole lead after the 14th before Oh responded to win the 16th with a par and the 18th hole with a birdie to take a solitary hole lead into lunch.
The afternoon round started well for Oh with a par at the first enough to increase the lead to two holes. In a high standard display of ball striking, both players returned par figures over the next six holes. A birdie at the 8th extended the lead and a further birdie at the par three 11th courtesy of a three-metre downhill putt increased the margin to four holes. A par at the 12th after Lee found the tress off the tee was sufficient for Oh to build the lead to five holes.
While the Western Australian pulled one hole back with a par at the 14th, a solid iron to the uphill par three 15th and an excellent lag putt secured Oh’s first Women’s State title and completed a unique double to go with her victory in the Women’s Port Phillip Amateur the preceding Sunday.
The Victorian Men’s & Women’s Amateur Championships are the most prestigious amateur events on the Golf Victoria’s calendar. First played in 1894 (Women) & 1899 (Men), the 2012 Championship represents over a century since the inaugural titles were played.
The Men’s event has now produced 65 separate winners including players such as Ivo Whitton, Harry Williams, five time British Open Champion Peter Thomson; Australia’s first British Amateur Champion Doug Bachli; founder of the Cobra Golf Company Tom Crow and noted professionals Mike Clayton Robert Allenby Stuart Appleby, Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley and Marcus Fraser.
The Women’s event boast winners such as Mona MacLeod, Susie & Shirley Tolhurst, Burtta Cheney, Margaret Masters, Sandra McCaw, Lindy Goggin, Jane Lock, Louise Briers, Jane Crafter and more recently Stacey Keating.
In over 100 years, 2012 marks the first time that the two qualifying rounds have been held simultaneously (in conjunction with the Port Phillip Amateur) and the second year that the Men’s and Women’s Amateur match play rounds have been contested concurrently.
The 126 players in the men’s field and 42 in the women’s competing in the 2012 championship came from a total of 87 different clubs including a number from Interstate and overseas.
Golf Victoria extends sincere thanks to Kingston Heath and Commonwealth for hosting the 2012 Port Phillip Amateur and to Yarra Yarra Golf Club for staging the match play rounds of the 2012 Victorian Amateur. All courses were presented in superb condition with all players and officials greatly appreciating the commitment which all three clubs afforded to the respective Championships.