Date: January 14, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Choi geared for #AusAm showdown

e’s been somewhat of a shootout at the top of amateur women’s golf in Australia lately.

Between Grace Kim, Becky Kay and Doey Choi, there’s been a polite battle royale raging around the country in national rankings events as they lead a charge to fill the inevitable void of the previous generation.

They are seeking to become the next Hannah Green or Karis Davidson, just as that pair wanted to fill the shoes of Minjee Lee and Su Oh before them.

So the trio arrives at Woodlands and Spring Valley this week knowing it’ll take their best to join the elite honour roll of the Australian Women’s Amateur championship.

But with the now customary smattering of quality international raiders, including squads from Japan and England, the challenge is as deep as it has been for quite a while.

And Choi, the only female benchmark athlete currently on Golf Australia’s books, is only too aware of the pitfalls of a gruelling week when, for the first time in her four attempts at the #AusAm, she’ll enter as a favourite.

“It’s a little bit nerve wracking, but I think it’s a good thing at the same time. I feel really good about this week,” the affable Sydneysider said today in her final practice round at Woodlands.

“I think there are a lot more girls coming up and they are improving way quicker than four or five years ago. I think it’s a good test for me and I am excited for the week.

“I feel like I’m one of the older girls now. I feel really confident (and) I like the look of the two courses and my game feels good this week, hoping for good results.”

Choi is fresh from a stellar 2018 season.

The New South Wales No.1 during the successful Interstate Series in Adelaide was second on the GA Order of Merit, with three wins and four other top-three finishes in national rankings events.

Choi was second in the IMG Academy Junior World Championships in San Diego and a quarter-finalist at the US Girls' Junior Amateur near Pebble Beach on the same trip.

That form appeared to run into her practice round at Woodlands today when the 18-year-old canned her second hole-in-one.

“I just had a hole-in-one on the 5th hole and saw it go in, so it’s a good confidence booster,” the Concord member said.

“It was 151m with a 5-iron. I only had my first one two or three months ago. Hopefully another one this week would be nice.”

The women’s #AusAm field was extended to 90 this year for the first time, with the handicap limit 2.4, highlighting the increasing depth in the women’s domestic game.

The women’s field begins across both courses on Tuesday afternoon, then alternates to Wednesday morning on the opposite course, after which the top 32 advance to knock out match play from Thursday.