A childhood dream was realised at the Aaron Baddeley International Junior Championship last week.
Cameron John, 16, reigned supreme, completing the 36-hole event carding rounds of 75 and 67 for a total of 142, to conquer a career-long goal.
“It’s an event that I’ve played in for the last five years and there’s not an event that I wanted to win more growing up than Aaron Baddeley and to do it was pretty good,” John said.
Despite being crowned champion, John started slowly in the first round but soon found momentum heading into the second round.
“The week before, I went to Queensland and I actually flew back the night before the Aaron Baddeley started. Preparation wasn’t great but I played really well in Queensland and took a lot of good form into Aaron Baddeley,” John said.
“I was a bit tired in the first round and that kind of showed up in my score but second round I got it going.”
A remarkable back nine in the first round calmed the nerves, which saw John surge towards another championship in 2015.
“I was pretty nervous in that first round just starting, I actually started really bad, I was four over through my front nine, and then in the next 27 holes of the tournament, I didn’t have a bogey.
“That calmed the nerves heaps, but it was good to get a good back nine in the first round so I could take some good form into that second round,” he said.
In a year that has seen the 16-year-old take the Victorian Junior Boys Championship, St. Luke’s Health Tasmanian Junior Masters, earn selection for the School Sport All Australian Team, among many accolades, the ABIJC ranks highly, according to John.
“It’s definitely up there with one of the best wins of the year.”
Perhaps only the Victorian Junior Masters in January, where John became the youngest ever winner of the tournament, rivals last week’s win at the ABIJC.
“It was the same with the Junior Masters as well, I won the Junior Masters in a playoff, and I’d played in that since I was nine, so it was my sixth year playing that,” John said.
“All I wanted to do was win that and Aaron Baddeley, and having them both done was a great feeling.”
Along with Cameron John comes his coach and mentor, Tim Wendel, the head golf coach at Rowville Secondary College’s Sports Academy, where John completes his schooling.
John cannot speak highly enough of Wendel’s influence on his career.
“Tim’s great. He’s like a golfing father figure.”
Having both career-long goals ticked off the list has been 13 years in the making for the 16-year-old – even intricately down to his choice of television program.
“I pretty much never watched cartoons until now. When I was three to probably 12 or 13, I just always watched golf whenever I could,” John said.
“Since I was three, I’ve been playing golf. It’s just everything. It’s just great to have something mean so much and I’m doing well at it.”