Kiwi Kazuma Kobori and Bella Kil of New South Wales have won the 2017 Victorian Boys and Girls Championships at Yarra Yarra Golf Club.
The boys contest was tight heading into the final round with five players within three shots of overnight leader Jye Pickin.
Kobori started the day even further back, trailing Pickin by five strokes with 18 holes to play.
With the pressure off, Kobori kept his head down and eyes off the leaderboard, eventually carding the lowest round of the day, a 3-under 69, to finish one shot clear of the field.
The 15-year-old dual member of Pegasus and Rangiora Golf Clubs will be travelling home with excess baggage, after taking out the under-16 trophy as well.
“I’m stoked. I didn’t think I had a chance to win but to shoot 3-under and find out I won the tournament is pretty huge for me,” said Kobori.
“I putted pretty mediocre yesterday but today I pretty much holed everything I looked at so it was a nice bounce-back.”
Meanwhile on the girls’ side all eyes were on Castle Hill’s Kil. The 17-year-old held the lead since the second round and entered the day with a two-shot buffer over the field.
Kil managed to extend her lead to six strokes early in the fourth round but it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
With only a few holes to play Kil’s lead had vanished, opening the door for fellow New South Welshwoman June Song.
“I couldn’t concentrate at all. I was going everywhere,” said Kil.
“My shots were off. My putting was off. But I said to myself just keep making pars, pars, pars and get my head back into the game.
“Put it on the green and two-putt, that’s all I was thinking.”
One group ahead, Song had levelled with Kil however a bogey on the last kept Kil in front.
After Kil slid her birdie putt 4-foot past the hole, the door wasn’t closed yet. But with composure beyond her years Kil rolled in a par to avoid a three-way playoff and to claim the title by one shot.
“I knew the situation so I knew I had to two-putt to win and I was so nervous,” said Kil.
“When I hit the putt I thought it was going to lip out so I thought it was going to go to a playoff but luckily it just dropped in for me.”
For the second year running all four tournament days were held at the famed Yarra Yarra without a cut, ensuring all players four rounds of competition golf.
With the wind howling, it proved to be a challenging week of golf with just three sub-70 scores.
Royal Melbourne’s Seve Jones shot 69 in the second round, Connor McDade with the same score in the third round and eventual champion Kobori with 69 today.
A staggering 50 players were balloted out of the tournament which received a record-high number of entries including 47 Interstate players and 16 international players from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand.
This year also saw the return of the Victorian Boys and Girls Championships live stream.
The stream was housed on the Golf Victoria website and broadcast through Facebook LIVE providing the opportunity for family, friends and the general public to witness the action unfold live from Yarra Yarra.
Kil’s name will be engraved alongside the likes of Burtta Cheney (1935), Margaret Masters (1951–54), Lindy Goggin (1969), Rachel Hetherington (1991), Su Oh (2008 and ’10) and last year’s champion Alizza Hetherington. While Kobori joins Kevin Hartley (1951), Ian Stanley (1966), Bob Shearer (1963), Marc Leishman (2001), Bryden Macpherson (2007) and Todd Sinnott (2009).
To watch the live stream replay and view the final scores visit the tournament homepage.