Date: January 14, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Time is now for Windred at #AusAm

If they paid consistency in amateur golf, Blake Windred would already be a millionaire.

The Novocastrian, 21 last month, has been knocking on the door of a big win for the past couple of years, yet has only the 2018 Avondale Cup to his credit in the win column.

But a closer look at his formline shows a man more than capable of bursting through that door at the Men’s Australian Amateur Championship in Melbourne this week.

Remarkably, Windred, from Charlestown, has had no fewer than 14 top-10 finishes, most recently at last week’s Australian Master of the Amateurs, since the 2017 Avondale.

That impressive has the New South Wales state player been that that list features two top-10 finishes on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, including his own state Open title in November against a cracking field of pros when he finished third at Twin Creeks.

So all signs point to another bold Windred showing this week at Spring Valley and Woodland’s in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.

But if there’s anybody who knows nothing comes for granted in match play, it’s the man himself.

Windred was fourth qualifier through stroke play last year at Lake Karrinyup, then ran into match play specialist and defending #AusAm champion Matias Sanchez in the first knockout round when the duo duelled throughout an epic 19-hole clash eventually won by the Victorian.

Windred also played his way into the match play at the 2018 US Amateur before running into the birdie buzzsaw of newly crowned Australian Master of the Amateurs champ Chun An Yu.

They are lessons with which the affable youngster has learnt to deal.

“I think there is a lot that’s not within your control when it gets into match play circumstances,” Windred said at Spring Valley today.

“You have to be patient and let it happen. If someone has nine birdies to beat you, there’s nothing you can do about it but take your hat off and be a good sport.”

By the same token, Windred, who was learning Spring Valley today with a couple of NSW state teammates James Grierson and Justin Warren, knows it’s probably time for he and his mates as they likely near the end of their amateur careers.

“I think it’s a very good opportunity to show how far we have come and try to dominate the tournament. But you still have to play really good golf,” Windred said.

“It’s such a big field, it’s still going to be very tough to shoot some good scores and finish up the top.”

Both Windred and Grierson agreed that world No.7 and last year’s runner-up David Micheluzzi would be among the toughest to beat this week, along with defending champion Keita Nakajima, of Japan.

“There are a couple of Canadian boys out here as well, Joey Savoie, who is a great player, and Josh Whalen,” Grierson said.

“Challengers can come from anywhere in this field… that’s the beauty of it.”

The men’s field of 222 players features a swag of internationals, with squads from Japan, England, Germany and Wales to challenge the Australians. So impressive is the field that the handicap limit was set at 1.0.

The men’s fields begin at 7.30am on Wednesday at both courses. Entry is free for all spectators.