Jay Mackenzie is rapidly cementing a reputation as one of Australian Golf's brightest young prospects.
The Ballina Golf Club junior has triumphed in the 2016 Queensland Junior Amateur Championship after four intense days at Bargara Golf Club. Mackenzie posted a four-round score of 5-under par 283 to win by one from Redcliffe 14-year old Tyler Duncan.
The win comes just months after Mackenzie anchored the Golf NSW boys team to joint victory in the 2016 Australian Junior Interstate teams series in Tasmania.
Mackenzie held the 36-hole lead with rounds of 68-69 to sit five shots ahead of Royal Queensland's James Mee. A horror 5-over par 77 third round, which included a quintuple bogey nine, meant the boy from Ballina had plenty of work to do in the final round.
And work he did. After trailing overnight leader Jed Morgan of Hattonvale by five shots heading into the final day, Mackenzie found himself in a real tussle for the title. As Mee and Morgan fell away over the final 18 holes, it was Duncan and Sanctuary Cove's Mitchell Varley that emerged from the chasing pack as Mackenzie’s biggest threats for the Championship.
Mackenzie was electrifying under the final round pressure. He played the final nine holes in 3-under par, which included a decisive birdie on the 17th as the tenacious Varley made a bogey to drop out of contention. All that was left for Mackenzie to do on the final hole was sink a clutch par putt to grab the title by a shot from the 14-year old Duncan.
“I was seven behind with 12 holes to go and I thought I didn’t have a chance. Five birdies went my way in those holes and I’m really happy with how I played this week,” an ecstatic Mackenzie said.
The victory also earns Mackenzie a start in the 2016 Isuzu Queensland Open to be held at The Brisbane Golf Club in October.
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It was the quiet yet determined 17-year old Momoka Kobori from Rangiora Golf Club in New Zealand who took out the Girls Championship with a 2-under par total of 290 for four rounds, winning by a shot from Victoria’s Kono Matsumoto.
Kobori set the standard early, opening the tournament with a new course record 2-under par 71.
Hazel Martin of Virginia made her move in round two, lowering Kobori’s course record by one with a 3-under par round of 70. Kobori unfortunately fell victim to the tricky Bargara layout, stumbling with a 3-over par 76.
Victorian Kono Matsumoto from Victoria Golf Club shook the tournament in the penultimate round recording a remarkable bogey-free 6-under par 67, smashing the course record that was only set by Martin the previous day. The Victorian’s three round total of 3-under par 216 saw her take a two-shot lead heading into the final round.
Kobori summoned all of her fighting spirit in the tense final round and turned the two-shot deficit into a one-shot lead over Matsumoto after nine holes. As the third member of the group Alexandra Hilliard struggled with the blustery conditions, it was ultimately Kobori’s 1-under par 72 final round which saw the Kiwi claim her maiden international victory.
Srixon are to be thanked for their generous support of the Qld Boys’ and Girls’ Amateur, and Bargara Golf Club is to be applauded for the magnificent condition in which the course was presented and the hospitality shown to all participants. Golf Queensland and players look forward to returning for the 2017 edition.