Date: August 25, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Morgan storms to APGC junior crown

Jed Morgan had been excited just to pull on his national colours, but it suddenly became a whole lot more dramatic yesterday.

To cap a memorable week at the Asia Pacific Golf Conferation’s Junior Championship in Taiwan, the 16-year-old unleashed a remarkable finish to seize the boys’ individual title.

The Brisbane youngster was doing “nothing really wrong”, but had stumbled to three over without a birdie with six holes to play as he and partner Kathryn Norris, 15, of Western Australia, tried valiantly to reach the top 10 of the team competition.

But almost without warning, Morgan, who idolises world No.1 Jason Day, played the most startling hour of golf in his young career to charge home with five birdies in six holes to charge to victory by a stroke at two-under-par 70.

Even more impressive was that his victory secured the product of Gailes Golf Club a start with the professionals of the Japan Golf Tour in the Diamond Cup in late September.

“It was an awesome feeling, the last six holes especially,” Morgan beamed after he and Norris (78) also moved to ninth in the team standings at four over.

“I’d done nothing really wrong and I just kept thinking that I had plenty of opportunities left to come.

“Then I just started driving the ball extremely well and executing my putts – it just sort of happened.”

Morgan’s birdie-birdie-par run from the 13th gave him a vague hope, but it wasn’t until the final three-birdie salvo that he even appeared in title calculations.

“It shows you shouldn’t ever give in,” said Morgan, who plays  off a handicap of +3 at Gailes, west of Brisbane where his family lives adjacent to the course.

“It’s been a fantastic week – we have an amazing bond already, especially around dinners (with fellow Aussie team members including Gabi Ruffels and Jye Pickin) and (manager) Ash (Marshall) has been fantastic all week, as has (coach) Stacey (Keating).

“I have never played golf outside Australia before, so when I put on the national uniform on Saturday, it was pretty amazing.

“It’s been a very cool week.”

Pickin, 15, from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, couldn’t match his new mate’s heroics in firing a closing 77, while his partner Ruffels, 16, of Melbourne, shot a 76 as the second Aussie combination finished 19th at 15 over after the combination of fourball, foursomes and singles.

Marshall said the week had been a great learning tool for the young team.

“It’s fantastic for Jed to have had that success, but all the kids did us proud,” he said.

“To play in such vastly different conditions to what they’re used to was a great experience, especially on greens with a lot of grain.

“They all learnt a lot – the international trips are always a great experience, but it’s particularly important they get to see the strength of their Asian counterparts because they’re playing some quality golf around here these days.”

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