Jordie Garner is getting pretty good at holding his nerve.
And the New South Welshman did it at the perfect time today to defend his Queensland stroke play title at Oxley Golf Club.
Having started the final round one behind New Zealand’s Jordan Woodall, things looked grim for the Central Coast ace when he took a triple-bogey seven on the fourth hole to fall four shots off the pace.
But calling on the priceless experience of both forging his way into the recent US Amateur playoff at Pinehurst – and the epic three-hour shootout itself – Garner rallied fiercely.
The St Michaels member peeled off birdies on the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th holes to storm into the lead.
A couple of late Garner bogeys mixed with one of Goodall’s on the 15th to leave the pair knotted as the Kiwi played his approach to the last.
Sadly for Woodall, his ball took an unlucky bounce and went out of bounds behind the 18th green and he had to reload on his way to a double-bogey six, leaving Garner a two-stroke victor.
Reigning Australian Junior champion Elvis Smylie continued his good form with an eagle two on the par-four 17th the highlight of a closing 73 that left him third, just one stroke further back at six under.
His fellow Gold Coaster Lewis Hoath finished fourth at five under, while the best final round came from the red-hot hand of new course record holder Jordan Ayre.
Ayre, a member at Royal Canberra, played college golf but has returned home and is now an accountant – not that he had to count too high en route to a spectacular seven-under-par 65.
The top 16 qualifiers (in order) who advanced to the start of the match play on Thursday are Garner, Woodall, Smylie, Hoath, Ayre, James Conran, Connor Fewkes, Ryan Mulvany, Will Florimo, Lachlan Coleborn, Jack Korotcoff, Bailey Arnott, Mako Thompson, Tyler Wood, Zach Maxwell and Lucas Higgins.
Mitchell Salmond, Ben Layton, Jose De Sousa and Joshua Gadd were the unlucky ones to miss out after a playoff for berths 14-16.
<image="2" align="left" />
In the women’s competition at Gailes, the Sunshine Coast’s Cassie Porter had a stunning hole-in-one on the par-three third hole in her fourth round, but it wasn’t enough to slow a burgeoning teen sensation in Mirabel Ting.
Ting, who last year became the youngest winner of a Malaysian Golf Association event, was brilliant at times in carding a closing three-under-par 70 to edge Porter by three strokes.
Ting, 14, has left her native Sarawak to study at the famous Hills International College south of Brisbane, and now joins names such as Karrie Webb, Su Oh and Karis Davidson on the Mrs N.G.Hatton Jug.
Remarkably, there were two other aces today, both in the third round – one from Shannon Tan on the 12th and another on the third from Hye Park.
The top 16 qualifiers into the match play phase from Thursday (in order) are: Ting, Porter,
Steph Kyriacou, Grace Kim, Kathryn Norris, Tan, Lisa Edgar, Charley Jacobs, Park, Brittney Dryland, Kerri Bong, Kelsey Bennett, Sarah Wilson, Steffi Vogel, Momo Sugiyama and Hannah Reeves.
The match play phase of both men’s and women’s tournaments begins at Gailes on Thursday.