Date: January 05, 2019
Author: Justin Falconer

Matt and Min claim Vic Junior Masters

It might be a new year but it’s the same old Min A Yoon after the Korean joined Matt Lever in lifting the silverware at the 2019 Vic Junior Masters.

Yoon capped off 2018 by winning the Port Phillip Amateur and the Junior Vic Open in December and the South Korean showed no sign of slowing down on Saturday, roaring to an extraordinary 14-shot win at Spring Valley.

Meanwhile, the battle for the boys’ crown was up for grabs until the 54th and final hole, Victorian Lever holding his nerve to make par up the last as his main challenger, NSW’s Harrison Crowe, lost his drive off the 18th tee.

The National GC’s Lever entered the day with a share of the lead and despite some early nerves, he’d built a two-stroke advantage over the field by the time he stepped onto the 9th tee.

“I was a bit nervous on the first tee but I kept telling myself to stay in the moment and take it shot by shot,” Lever said.

“The nerves were there all day but I learnt how to control them after a few holes.”

But a bogey from the Victorian and a birdie from playing partner Crowe prior to making the turn meant scores were level between the pair with nine holes to play.

The duo dropped back to 1-under for the week after a pair of bogies at the 13th, before another pair of dropped shots at 16 kept Lever and Crowe level with just two holes to play.

A clutch birdie at 17 for Lever put the pressure on the Sydneysider who settled for par, 17-year-old Lever eventually saving par from a greenside bunker on 18 for a three-shot win.

“Playing together made it easier because I knew what they were doing, I knew when to be aggressive,” said Lever.

“It was an easy pin on 17 and I nearly holed my second shot into there.

“It was like match play but it’s a hard stretch coming in so anything could happen. I was still thinking about making birdie on the 18th tee.”

Lever finished at 1-under for the tournament to be the only player under par for the week.

The third member of the final group, Commonwealth’s Mitch Crabbe, was solid early but couldn’t make the most of his share of the overnight lead, eventually rallying to lock down third place on the standings at 3-over for the week.

In the girls’ event, Yoon began the third and final round – after Friday’s play was cancelled due to extreme weather – with a seven-stroke advantage over the field.

The 15-year-old managed to better her 13-stroke winning margin from Barwon Heads one month ago with a final round 6-under 68.

Yoon followed a second birdie of the day at the 6th with an eagle at the par-5 7th, lifting her to a 12-stroke lead over Queensland state representative Cassie Porter as she made the turn.

After a rare bogey at 12 the Korean put the foot down on the way back to the clubhouse, rattling off four birdies in her last five holes to rocket to 17-under for the tournament.

Yoon’s last seven rounds in two of Victoria’s most prestigious tournaments have resulted in a combined 31-under par and a highest score of 70.

Porter’s scores of 72, 75 and a closing 72 saw her lock down runner-up honours at 3-under for the week, with South Australian state player Charley Jacobs rounding out the podium one stroke further back.

Melbourne’s Jeneath Wong began the day a part of the chasing pack that was unlikely to run down Yoon but she made her own fun early in the day with an extraordinary albatross at the par-5 1st.

With 139m to the pin, Wong flushed a 7-iron for her second shot, her ball dropping into the hole on her way to a top 10 finish.

For the final leaderboards from all age groups, click here. For a full photo gallery of the final round’s action, click here.