Date: August 27, 2014
Author: Tony Meyer / GA National Coach

Tony Meyer’s Youth Olympics review

The Youth Olympics Games golf event has come to an end, and what a great two weeks it has been for the players.

Nanjing 2014 is the first time since 1908 golf has been included in Olympic competition and this was an opportunity for the young golfers from all over the world to participate in this event two years before golf is reintroduced into the Summer Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

The golf competition started with the individual event – a 54 hole stroke play competition. Both Australian players got off to a great start, with Brett Coletta shooting an opening six under par 66 to share the lead in the boys' competition and Liz Elmassian shooting a two under par 70 to be only one behind in the girls. Conditions were a little tougher on the second day with Coletta shooting an even par 72 and Elmassian struggling on the greens to shoot an 81. Heading into the final day Brett was sitting in T3 and within striking distance of the leaders.

The final day of the individual competition was always going to be close and Brett was right in the mix all day until the fifteenth hole. Taking an aggressive line from the tee Brett’s tee shot found the water.

Another trip into the hazard resulted in an eight on the hole and ended his chances of a medal. His Italian playing partner Renato Paratore shot a closing nine holes of 31 to take the gold medal from the Swede Marcus Kinhult. In the girls’ competition, Korea’s Soyoung Lee took the gold medal with some impressive scoring, finishing fourteen under par for the 54 holes, three clear of Ssu-Chia Cheng from Chinese Taipei. Elmassian again struggled on the greens and closed with an 81 to finish back in the pack.

Following the individual event the two Aussies combined for the teams competition.

The three day competition consisted of a 4BBB on day one, a Foursome on day two and on the final day both players would play an individual with both scores to count.

The Aussie combination got off to a great start combining very well and shooting a nine under par 63 on day one, this put them only two behind Korea heading into the foursomes round. Day two started slowly with the Aussies opening with a double bogey. They fought back well with three straight birdies to end the front nine. A couple of bogeys early on the back nine again put them on the back foot before another stretch of birdies late in the round had them post a two under par 70. Heading into the final day they would sit just three shots from the lead held by Denmark.

The final day of competition was a tough one for the Aussies. After a slow start to their rounds, both Liz and Brett made some solid birdies mid way through the front nine. A triple bogey on the par three eighth hole for Brett slowed his momentum and he was not able to recover shooting a final round of 76. Liz’s final round of 73 left the Aussies on a total of six under par and in eleventh place. Sweden took the gold medal in a playoff with Korea.

The experience of the Olympic Games for these young golfers has been something I am sure they will remember for a long time.

Being able to live alongside athletes from other sports in the Olympic Village and witness some of the other competitions and participate in the cultural events has been an opportunity these young athletes will have learnt a huge amount from.

It has been a great experience for me as a coach to share information with not only the other countries' golf coaches but also the Australian Coaches working with the other twenty plus sports represented here in Nanjing, China.