Date: November 08, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Amateurs ready for #AusOpenGolf assault

There was already a strong contingent of amateurs booked for the Emirates Australian Open – then along came Lin Yuxin.

The Chinese prodigy turned in a stunning performance at Royal Wellington last month to storm to the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship crown and an invitation to The Australian from 23-26 November.

In outduelling Min Woo Lee across the weekend, Yuxin stamped himself as a genuine star of the future – even managing to outdrive the prodigiously long West Australian on several occasions.

In fact, a recent social media post showed Yuxin had managed an exit ball speed off his driver in excess of 190 miles per hour, more than 10 mph faster, for example, than US PGA Tour bombers Tony Finau, Bubba Watson and Gary Woodland through the early days of the 2018 season.

One suspects the New Zealand showdown won't be the last time we see Yuxin and Lee in a final-round pairing.

The duo will start nominal favourites to be leading amateur against the likes of Jordan Spieth and Jason Day at the Emirates Australian Open this month.

Other amateurs in the running include Queensland's Shae Wools-Cobb, who led for portions of the APAC recently after a spectacular opening 63 before finishing in the top 10, Australian Amateur champion Matias Sanchez and his fellow Victorian Cameron John, who won through as the Australian Junior champion.

Japan's Takumi Kanaya has already shown he won't go missing among the pros with a runner-up finish at his national open this year, while American Charles Reiter was a runaway winner of the Aaron Baddeley International Junior in San Diego against another quality field to earn his berth.

Dylan Perry is yet to formalise his plans, but with Travis Smyth and New South Wales mates Harrison Endycott having turned pro, the spotlight will likely fall on Lee and the left-handed Chinese ace.

At 17 and with a commitment to the University of Southern California in 2019 in his near future, you could excuse Yuxin if he were to get ahead of himself.

But behind the booming drives and deft touch is a focused young man with a near-perfect grasp of English and an appreciation of the challenge ahead.

"I'm definitely excited to be coming back to Sydney," said Yuxin, who narrowly missed the cut with rounds of 74-75 last year after making an almost anonymous debut at age 16.

"I hope to make the cut. I will be satisfied to do that."

Early in the tournament in Wellington, Yuxin was asked if he'd be nervous carrying the lead into the final rounds.

He replied by saying there was no way he'd be as nervous as playing nearby Spieth at Royal Sydney last year.

"Jordan was actually on the 14th hole which is just right at the tee box (where I was standing)," he said.

"I was kind of nervous, but yeah, everything got better after that tournament. So probably not going to be as nervous as I was in Australia (last year)."

Yuxin, who has already played in several professional events in Asia and Europe, doesn't expect a gallery at The Australian, despite his recent heroics.

"I'd just be really excited for anyone to follow me," he said with a grin before admitting he had far higher future goals, including becoming his nation's first golfing megastar.

"I would definitely want to be the first Chinese superstar, but I'm not sure if I can get there or not," he said.

"I'll definitely try my best to get there."

Tournament director Trevor Herden said all amateurs were a welcome inclusion into the field.

“We have some of the best young performers from all corners of the globe and they’re up against our leading players domestically, so it should be a great guide to the future,” Herden said.

“We’ve had some great results by amateurs in recent years and I’d expect a few of them to go really well at The Australian again this year.”

The Emirates Australian Open is a flagship tournament on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia. The winner will receive a minimum of 32 Official World Golf Ranking points.

The event will be telecast all four days on Channel 7.

Tickets are on sale now from Ticketek at or by calling 132 849.


Twitter:  and #AusOpenGolf


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