Two new golfing stars were crowned when 16-year-old Maddison Hinson-Tolchard from Perth and Andre Lautee from Kingston Heath joined the storied winner’s list of the Victorian Amateur championship at Huntingdale today.
Hinson-Tolchard is one of the youngest-ever winners of the 124-year-old championship, her victory embellishing the Australian girls’ title she won at Royal Perth earlier this year. In an all-Western Australian women’s final, she peeled off five consecutive birdies from the sixth to the 10th holes on the second 18 of the 36-hole final to blow away 17-year-old Kirsten Rudgeley.
Ultimately, she won five and four with yet another long birdie putt rolling in at the 32nd hole.
Lautee, 19, is the reigning club champion at Kingston Heath and also has won a club championship at Rosanna in Melbourne’s north-east. Not yet a part of the Victorian Institute of Sport’s elite programs, he has a bullet beside his name.
He defeated VIS scholarship-holder and state team player Kyle Michel 2&1 in the final, closing it out at the 17th green with a bogey from the trees down the right.
With Michel’s tee ball also in the trees, Lautee had to chip sideways on to the adjacent 18th fairway and play his third shot back over the trees to extract himself from trouble.
That shot to the back fringe of the green effectively won the title for him.
“I couldn’t see the flag, so my caddie had to run up to get the distance,’’ he said.
“It ended up being about 200 metres over the trees and into the wind. I hit a three iron just to the back fringe of the green. It got me in a decent position to get up and down.”
Michel had a putt for par from five metres but missed, leaving Lautee a metre-long bogey putt to win it. He buried it in the middle.
Lautee studied the names on the ancient trophy with pride outside the clubhouse, having secured his biggest win yet.
“Absolutely, there are some tremendous players on there,’’ he said. “It’s an honour to be on the same list as them.’’
The Swinburn University technology student began his golf at Rosanna and joined Kingston Heath three years ago. He is focused on golf now.
“I’m hoping to get into the VIS next year, possibly travel overseas and play some of the big events,’’ he said.
“I feel like I’m pretty stable. I don’t make too many mistakes. That’s the key to my game.’’
Hot conditions and a blustery north wind made life tough for the players in the 36-hole finals, but Hinson-Tolchard thrived on the second 18, surging with a left-to-right curling birdie putt to follow Rudgeley’s birdie at the par-five sixth, and then hitting a sand wedge third shot inside a metre at the par-five seventh.
By the time she poured in another birdie from off the fringe of the eighth, and then birdied the ninth and 10th as well, she was six-up and virtually home. Rudgeley had dispatched her brother Ben as caddie to the sidelines and her mother was pushing her buggy, but the Mt Lawley teenager won the 12th and 13th to give herself a chance of a miracle recovery, until Hinson-Tolchard made another bomb for birdie at the 14th that encapsulated the day.
They are WA teammates from way back.
“We know each other’s games quite well and we play a similar game so I knew it would be tough,’’ said Hinson-Tolchard, who plays out of the Gosnells club.
“She’s a good matchplayer and she’s got a good short game. I was nervous coming in today, a bit shaky on the first tee box but once I got going, I focussed on doing what I do and get the birdies and it went well.’’
Hinson-Tolchard, who has just completed year 11 studies at Penrhos College in Perth, was delighted with the win.
“This is a pretty big one. It kind of tops off my year. This is one of my biggest senior event and my first senior title so I’m really happy to get this one.’’
Both Lautee and Hinson-Tolchard earn starts in the ISPS Handa Vic Open at 13th Beach from February 7-10 with their victories. Hinson-Tolchard also earns a place in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at The Grange in Adelaide the week after the Vic Open.