Peter Lyon (Southport) and Robyn Choi (Royal Pines) have claimed victory in spectacular style at the 2015 Greg Norman Junior Masters celebrating 25 years of the prestigious Queensland junior event. Lyon and Choi overcame their opponents during four intense days at Palmer Gold Coast and Palmer Colonial this week.
The 72-hole event commenced on Monday at Palmer Colonial with Tuesday’s round played at Palmer Gold Coast. Wednesday was a rest day with the final two days at Palmer Gold Coast and Friday’s final 18 holes played at Palmer Colonial.
Over 224 eager and aspiring junior golfers from around Queensland participated in the 25th commemorative year of event with each of the six divisions reduced by 60% after 54 holes on Thursday, leaving the leading 40% of players in each division plus ties.
Peter Lyon has finally had his break-through win claiming the boys’ championship title over Charles Pilon (Hills) after a gruelling six-hole playoff.
Carding rounds of 70-70-72, Lyon headed into the final round as the overnight leader with Pilon trailing by one shot. A double-bogey on the first hole was quickly forgotten as Lyon followed up with three birdies and two bogeys to finish on 73. Pilon’s burning desire to take home a title after finishing runner-up to Louis Dobbelaar during last week’s QLD Boy’s Amateur was ignited making four birdies, two bogeys, and a double bogey to put both players and playing partner Lachlan Barker (Glenelg) in a three-way tie heading down the 18th.
All three players hit fantastic drives with short approaches and birdie opportunities lying in wait, however each missing the green resulted in a scramble to secure putts to be in contention for the playoff. Lyon recovered from the bunker to make par with Pilon’s safe chip earning him a spot in the playoff, however a bogey on the last for Barker cost him his chance for a playoff and the title.
What happened next in the playoff could only be described as ‘nail-bitting and enthralling’ as Lyon and Pilon battled over six gruelling holes for the championship. Friends, family and fellow players came out in force to support the boys, both worthy contenders. Square, after square, after square hole, it was only on the 18th for the third time that day that we found a winner.
Lyon’s troubled drive in the left trees and chip-out narrowly missing the water saw his chances start to fade leaving Pilon with an easy approach to the green. Not giving up hope yet, Lyon chipped-in his 3m approach from the fringe, fist-bumping in joy to make par and put pressure on Pilon to make his par putt after putting his approach in the back bunker. Pilon’s saving grace putt narrowly missed and saw Peter Lyon take out his first championship title. Both players are to be congratulated on their excellent display of sportsmanship, noted by Director Charlie Earp.
Charles congratulated Peter during his runner-up acceptance speech jokingly quoting “you could tell neither of us wanted to win” referring to the excruciating six hole playoff which was definitely a crowd pleaser.
Louis Dobbelaar (Brookwater) continued his successful streak taking out the 15 Years & Under Boys division after last week becoming the QLD Boys’ Amateur champion at Indooroopilly. At just 14 years of age, Dobbelaar’s rounds of 75-77-70-70 was highly commended by Tony Rollins, seven shots clear of City GC’s Sam Blackshaw.
Junior star Elvis Smylie (Southport) won the 13 Years & Under boys division carding rounds of 77-71-80-74 (302) with Sanctuary Cove’s Jae Young Han finishing two shots behind on 304.
Aces of the week belong to Peter Lyon who had a hole-in-one on the 135m 4th hole at Palmer Gold Coast, with Jack Pountney following in style with an ace on the 17th.
Robyn Choi capped off a stellar year winning the girls’ championship after already claiming three prestigious titles within the past months including the Katherine Kirk Classic, Queensland Amateur (Matchplay), and Queensland Girls’ Amateur.
Robyn has been the commanding force in Queensland Women’s golf this year with a score of 9-under and rounds of 67-71-76-68 (282) to take out the title, a single shot ahead of fellow friend and state team member Kirsty Hodgkins (Redcliffe) displaying consistent rounds of 70-68-75-70.
Choi said she was “nervous but confident” with Hodgkins leading by one shot heading into the final round at Palmer Colonial. Choi’s exceptional five-under round included an eagle, four birdies and a bogey; a round much to be desired by all golfers. An eagle on the final nine further ignited Choi’s confidence with a chip-in on twelve putting the pressure on Hodgkins to deliver. Hodgkins returned with a consistent round which included four birdies and a bogey finishing 8-under for the tournament, and one shot away from the championship.
CEO Rae Clark also extended an invitation for Robyn to play at the 2016 RACV Ladies Masters played at her home course Royal Pines 25-28th February, competing with the likes of Karrie Webb, Katherine Kirk and defending Australian Champion Su Oh.
Min Kweon (Sanctuary Cove) returned to take out the 15 Years & Under Girls title with a score of 293 (75-76-73-69) after winning the 13 Years & Under division last year. Kweon was six shots clear from NSW’s runner-up Hannah Park (77-75-71-76).
Emerald Lakes member Lion Higo defied her incredible eight-handicap winning the 13 Years & Under division with rounds of 77-80-80-78 (315), with Eloise Taylor (Sanctuary Cove) outright runner-up on 324.
Special thanks to sponsors Palmer Golf Australia, Titleist, and Golf Queensland for their ongoing support during the tournament. Thank you to all the districts, delegates, and partners who assisted with the tournament as well as Adam Scott, Cameron Smith and Maverick Antcliff who visited the juniors on Sunday during the opening ceremony to provide inspiration which all juniors and parents thoroughly enjoyed.
Sincere thanks must go to CEO Rae Clark, Director Charlie Earp, committee member Tony Rollins and the Junior Golf Queensland Foundation team Scott Simons, Tanya and Doug for their ongoing efforts to deliver a fantastic and renowned Queensland junior event. 2016 will see the consolidation of the Golf Queensland and the Junior Golf Foundation of Queensland junior operations to form one united body for junior golf in Queensland with exciting developments to come in the New Year.
Enjoy the summer of golf!
Overall Boys Champion – Peter Lyon (285)
Overall Girls Champion – Robyn Choi (282)
Boys Runner-Up – Charles Pilon (285)
Girls Runner-Up – Kirsty Hodgkins (283)
15 Years & Under Boys winner – Louis Dobbelaar (292)
15 Years & Under Girls winner – Min Kewon (293)
13 Years & Under Boys winner – Elvis Smylie (302)
13 Years & Under Girls winner – Lion Higo (315)
Final round photos will be available later today on the Golf Queensland Facebook page
For final scores click here.