Date: October 30, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Dobbelaar’s epic run to #NZAm crown

Louis Dobbelaar is destined to win many golf tournaments, but he might never again win one like this.

Dobbelaar, who recently turned 15, won the New Zealand Amateur Championship at Royal Wellington today, becoming the youngest winner of the time-honoured event.

The record books will show the Queenslander defeated experienced Kiwi Peter Spearman-Burn 2&1.

What a brief look won't reveal is that the Golf Australia national squad member survived one of the most epic runs imaginable through a big match play event.

Dobbelaar was behind for the majority of a quality 36-hole final, his most recent lead before he took hold in the closing stretch coming back after a win on the 15th hole.

But when he was three down walking to the 30th tee, the title looked poised to stay on home soil.

Remarkably, though, Dobbelaar held tough as Spearman-Burn felt the pressure of the moment and won five holes in succession to take a 2-up lead.

A par on the 35th was enough for him to take his slice of history at a club where he holds a country membership with his father and a swag of other relatives based near Wellington.

It was hard for the new champion to hide his emotions with friends and family on hand.

"It feels crazy, the last six holes I thought I had a chance but somehow I battled it out and got the result," Dobbelaar said.

"It’s really cool to have them all here, there was so many of them, I didn’t realise I had that many family members, but it was a pretty cool feeling having them supporting me.

"It’s so cool to have a big crowd and it is definitely the biggest win of my career so far, but hopefully there can be a few more."

But the final was just one remarkable chapter of Dobbelaar's incredible run to the title.

The Brookwater member was locked in an epic tussle with highly rated young New Zealander Luke Toomey in their semi-final when he chipped in to win on the 21st hole.

"It was one of those shots where I felt like I could get it close and I knew it was going to take something special to beat Luke, but that was really cool and I hope I get to see the video footage," Dobbelaar said.

He'd earlier won his quarter-final on the 19th hole and his Round of 32 match on the 20th to steel his nerves for the run that followed.