Date: October 18, 2019
Author: Martin Blake

Smylie triumphs at Keperra

Brilliant Queensland junior Elvis Smylie today added the prestigious Keperra Bowl to his national junior title triumph from earlier this year.

Left-hander Smylie, 17, carded six birdies and no bogeys in a six-under par 66 to overtake 54-hole leader Josh Armstrong of Canberra and ultimately win by two shots at 16-under overall.

He shot 69-66-71-66 for the week at Keperra Country Club, including an astonishing three eagles in his second round.

Another Queenslander, Dylan Gardner, closed with a 65, the low round of the day, to finish outright second at 14-under par, a shot ahead of Canberra’s Armstrong (71 today) and New South Welshman Nathan Barbieri (68) at 13-under.

Australian Christian College year 12 student Smylie is the son of multiple grand slam tennis champion Liz Smylie, and plays out of Southport Golf Club on the Gold Coast. He dabbled in tennis when he was an infant before switching to golf aged seven.

When he won the national junior title at his home club in April he secured a spot in the Emirates Australian Open field this December, where his growing talents will go on the bigger stage.

Playing in the final group today with Armstrong and Barbieri, he took the lead midway through the final round and parred the last five holes to secure the win, finishing it off with a great two-putt from long range at the 72nd hole. “I started out two behind and I knew I’d have to go low,” he said afterward. “Luckily I made some putts when I needed to and it worked out for me.”

Smylie said the victory was close to the equal of his junior national win because of the open-aged field. “You’re playing with guys who aren’t under 18 so the calibre of players is higher,’’ he said. “Keperra’s a tough track and people were going low. My game’s as good as it’s ever been. I went out, kept things simple and it worked out for me.

“When you think about what Aussie junior gets you into, it’s massive. I don’t want to compare and they’re both major events.”

Smylie played tennis in his infancy but switched to golf around seven, and has never regretted it. He looks to have made the right choice. He will contest the Port Phillip Amateur in Victorian next before taking up his invitation to play the national Open with the professionals.

The Keperra Bowl dates to 2005 and is a world amateur rankings event. Previous winners include Marc Leishman (2005).

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