Date: January 13, 2018
Author: Jack Newton Junior Golf

2018 Junior Golf State of Origin

NSW and QLD have played out a thrilling draw in the 2018 State of Origin at Pelican Waters Golf Club in what was a fitting end to the closest State of Origin contest in the 19 year history of the event.

After the Mixed Foursomes and Fourball contests both finished 3-3 on Thursday, NSW took a narrow lead into the final round of Singles after winning the round three foursomes 4-2. But Queensland responded in fighting fashion, winning the Singles by a score of 7-5 to stop NSW winning it's 10th series in a row.

NSW got off to a perfect start with Claire Shin defeating Caitlin Vanderkruk 3&2. Shin flew out of the blocks early, winning three of the first four holes and never surrended that lead, despite the impressive Queenslander fighting all the way to the end. Just as impressive was fellow 12 Year Old Billy Dowling, far too good for NSW rival Jake Riley 5&4. The match was in the balance through seven holes, before the gritty Dowling won four of the next five to take control.

The 13 Years contest was also split 1-1, with the injured Justice Bosio providing the biggest upset of the tournament. After withdrawing from the morning foursomes match with a hip injury and spending the morning on the physio table, the tall Queenslander only decided to play in the singles match moments before her allocated tee time. Putting the injury behind her, she picked up three holes in a row deep into the back nine, two of them with birdie, to defeat Sophie Yip 3&2. In the Boys 13 Years Division, Jeffrey Guan got another victory over big-hitting opponent Kaito Chiu 4&2. Despite giving up 40 or 50m to Chiu off the tee, Guan's wedge and iron play proved too consistent in the singles to give NSW another precious point.

And just as NSW edged closer to victory, Queensland struck back. Lion Higo defeated Annika Rathbone in another tight contest 2&1. Incredibly, the two 14 year old girls had been down the 18th hole in all three of their previous matches, so another tight and close contest was no surprise. Blaike Perkins had it a little bit easier against Jacob Dundas in the Boys 14 Years Match, closing it out with back to back birdies on the 15th and 16th to give Queensland the momentum and level the contest at 12-12.

NSW edged back in front when Yerin Kim defeated Hannah Reeves 4&2 in the Girls 15 Years Match. After winning four of the opening six holes, Kim was never troubled as the temperature rose on the Sunshine Coast. The temperature wasn't the only thing that was hot, with Queenslander Elvis Smylie the hottest player on the course after a sizzling front nine. Tom Heaton (NSW) made par on the opening seven holes and whilst that could sometimes be good enough to lead, he found himself 5 down. Smylie picked up another hole on the 9th and despite cooling down on the back nine, still cruised to a 3&2 victory.

The points were shared yet again in the 16 Years Division, with Karen Kim (QLD) proving too good for NSW opponent Monica Johnson, whilst NSW answered back with Harrison Crowe proving too good for Bailey Ittensohn (QLD). And when NSW captain Jye Pickin picked up his fourth point of the tournament, the only player to finish with a perfect 4-0 record, NSW had reached the magical 15 point mark and only needed another half to win the contest.

It all came down to the Girls 17 Years match between Danni Vasquez (NSW) and Sarah Wilson (QLD) which was up and down all day long. Only two holes all day were squared, and when Vasquez won the 15th and 16 to fight back from two down the match was all sqaure on the 16th. But Wilson, who is the current Ladies Club Champion at Pelican Waters responded for the Queenslanders, winning the 17th and 18th holes with clutch pars to win the match 2up and make the event finish in a tie for the first time in history.

Singles Results – NSW 5 – 7 QLD

Final Score – NSW 15 – 15 QLD

Jack Newton Junior Golf and Junior Golf Queensland would like to thank host club Pelican Waters for a fantastic week at the first time of hosting. The tournament will return to NSW in January 2019 for the 20th running of the event.