Azer Pehlic and Kirsten Rudgeley, both of Mount Lawley Golf Club, are now proud holders of the 2019 Amateur Championships of Western Australia titles after an exciting weekend of golf held at Wanneroo Golf Club. Spectators witnessed a slice of history as the club produced both winners, a first at the Championships.
Local galleries took to Wanneroo Golf Club with the greens were in pristine condition, a testament to Mr Jon Carter, named Superintendent of the year at the recent 2019 WA Golf Industry Awards.
The Men’s final was a tight tussle between Pehlic and Haydn Barron (WAGC) across 36 tough holes of golf. Pehlic and Barron both held 1UP leads at various stages throughout the first 18 holes, but neither was able to break away from the other.
As the second 18 began, Pehlic surprised many to begin to assert his authority on the match.
A birdie on the par 5 10th (28th hole of the match) extended Pehlic’s lead to 2UP, the biggest lead held by either play throughout the final.
When Barron birdied the 31st hole the deficit was halved and another birdie on the 34th hole returned the match to All Square with two holes to play.
Both Pehlic and Barron were wayward off the 17th tee and had to scramble to salvage bogeys and halve the hole, setting up an enthralling battle heading down the 18th.
Barron chose to hit iron of the 18th tee and this paid off when he found the perfect spot on the fairway. Pehlic went down a more aggressive route with driver and found himself in trouble when he overshot the fairway.
Despite his good tee shot, Barron came up short left with his approach and found the greenside bunker. Meanwhile, Pehlic bunted out a low running iron that trickled to the right edge of the green.
Barron couldn’t get up and down from the bunker and Pehlic ended Barron’s hopes with a clinical putt on the 18th hole to give him the win in front of elated family and friends.
Pehlic noted that her was nervous for most of the day. “…Haydn’s a solid player and he had me rattled…but, I held him off for a good finish.” Pehlic’s focus now will be on maintaining his motivation as men’s pennants season gets underway.
In the Women’s final it was a game of cat and mouse between competitors Kathryn Norris and Kirsten Rudgeley.
Rudgeley birdied the second hole to take a 1UP lead and moved further ahead when Norris bogeyed the par 5 6th.
A string of birdies on the back 9 swung the momentum further in Rudgeley’s favour and she looked to be running away with the Women’s title at 5UP.
However, Norris wasn’t done yet. A good putt on 18 kickstarted a run of five consecutive birdies and suddenly Rudgeley’s lead had been cut to only 2.
Norris soon stumbled with three back to back bogeys and a birdie from Rudgeley on the 27th hole shot her lead back out to a commanding 6UP.
Another Rudgeley birdie on the 27th hole was the final nail in Norris’ coffin. Despite two more birdies from Norris it was a case of too little too late and Rudgeley took the victory 5&4.
Having persevered through a busy golfing schedule recently, Rudgeley is looking forward to playing the GolfWA Bowra & O’Dea Women’s Classic held this weekend at Lake Karrinyup Country Club. Following her win, she said, “I played pretty consistent golf today and kept myself together.”