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It was the day of bonus golf at the Australian Amateur Championship, presented by Swinging Skirts.
Perth’s classic Lake Karrinyup layout was the perfectly manicured backdrop to a gripping round of men’s matches – and two standout performances by local women – as the respective fields reached quarter-final stage.
On the men’s side, only white-hot Victorian David Micheluzzi, a 5&3 winner over Japan’s Ren Yonezawa didn’t make it to the final green or beyond as the cliffhangers just didn’t quit.
After seven of 16 men’s round of 32 matches played earlier were decided on or after the 18th hole, seven more of the eight round of 16 matches followed.
Remarkably, five matches required extra holes and it took 21 for Lake Karrinyup’s own Joe Owen to bow to Keita Nakajima.
Micheluzzi might have the physical edge having played just 44 holes through the first three rounds of match play.
Conversely, boom West Australian Josh Greer has played 58 holes, including a fist-pumping finale on the 20th this afternoon against Kyle Michel, who agonised for an age as his putt to extend the match even further sat on the lip but refused to drop.
Another overtime classic was Shae Wools-Cobb’s victory over powerhouse Canadian Hugo Bernard – a match befitting a clash even later in the tournament before the Queenslander’s conceded birdie on the 19th set up his third consecutive #AusAm quarter-final stage appearance.
Daiki Imano, another of the strong Japanese contingent, finally ended Matias Sanchez’s bold title defence in a tense battle on the 20th hole eventually sealed by a laser approach inside 50cm for a superb birdie.
Unheralded Queenslander Peter Lyon continued his stunning rise with a 1-up victory over decorated Zach Murray, just hours after he took another Australian representative Charlie Dann down in the Round of 32.
In the women’s division, Hira Naveed continued to blossom in her brief return from Pepperdine University to win 3&2 over Korean Selin Hyun.
And the only other Aussie to survive was her WA colleague Kirsten Rudgeley, who toppled Victorian’s Kono Matsumoto by the same margin.
Another Victorian to fall was Steph Bunque who missed a chance to extend to an extra hole when a short putt on the last wouldn’t co-operate and Suzuka Yamaguchi advanced.
The other Aussie to fall was Sydney’s Kelsey Bennett, who pushed Japan’s Rio Ishii throughout, but eventually fell 3&2.
Korea has two of the remaining eight women, Australia two and Japan three alongside Taiwan’s Han Hsuan Yu, the day’s most dominant winner with a 7&6 victory over Ina Yoon.