Date: May 10, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

WOMEN: WA topples champs in #IntSeries classic

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Western Australia has landed the first key blow in the women’s Interstate Series at Royal Queensland.

The WA squad rallied late to pull off a thrilling 3-2 victory over defending champion Victoria with the result only sealed by a knee-knocking par putt on the last green by captain Hannah Green.

It capped a rollicking morning to open the week with host Queensland outlasting arch rival New South Wales 4.5-0.5 and Tasmania storming home to halve its match with South Australia after being outplayed in the early going.

But the West Aussies had the greatest reason to celebrate, knocking off one of its chief rivals to make Thursday’s final.

Victoria locked away an early point with Gabi Ruffels storming to a 5&4 win in the bottom match, but then watched on as the WA crew slowly but surely edged into the contest.

Claudia Pisano won an epic match with Alizza Hetherington 2&1 with a birdie on their 17th hole after the pair had exchanged the lead several times but neither had led by more than one until the last putt.

The impressive Kathryn Norris defied the experience of her opponent Jo Charlton to kick to the lead in the final four holes before another 2&1 result.

Stephanie Bunque held her nerve at No.2 for Victoria as Jessica Whitting charged back into the match late and the Victorian calmly knocked in a 3m curling par putt on the last for a 1-up win that momentarily squared the match.

But Perth’s Green, such a consistent force in women’s amateur ranks for the past 18 months, held her nerve to guide her young teammates home with a brilliant up-and-down for par on the last to stave off Olivia Kline 1-up.

Pisano, 17, a member at the WA Golf Club in Yokine and in her third Interstate Series campaign, said it had been nerve-wracking watching the final moments unfold.

“But we pulled through and I was really proud of the guys – it was great and a great 100 per cent effort through the day,” said Pisano, who was delighted with her own win after a quality encounter with Hetherington.

“It was up and down (throughout) … I don’t think either of us got more than 1-up all day and then in the last couple of holes I just pulled through.

“It was good to seal it after a nice chip to set up that (closing) birdie.

“We’re all feeling good, it’s a nice team spirit.”

The Queenslanders appear to have had their own way with NSW, but the scoreboard belies some tight matches.

The local team led handily in three of the five matches at times, but the young Blues charged home and took every match until at least the 16th green.

New South Wales No.1 Liz Elmassian fell to Karis Davidson 2-dn, but had been as far back as 5-dn until a furious rally that included an eagle on the 14th from 121m.

Doey Choi and Gold Coaster Robyn Choi fought to an entertaining half, but that proved to be the only half-point for NSW,

South Australia, too, had seemed set for a commanding win until another late charge by Tasmania.

Tassie’s Zahara Lemon stopped the rot in the third match after the first two matches went SA’s way.

But Georgia Milbourne, at No.2, and Sarah Johnstone in the top match each rallied to seal wins on their final holes to share the spoils.

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