Date: January 19, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

WOMEN’S WRAP: Bennett blasts away buddy

MATCH PLAY DRAW & LIVE SCORES (Thurs – Sun):     Men    Women

QUALIFYING SCORES (Tues – Wed):    Men   Women

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They came across the continent to sort it out, but Kelsey Bennett left clubmate Steph Kyriacou in no doubt as to her intentions at the women’s Australian Amateur Championship, presented by Swinging Skirts.

Bennett, 17, originally from Mollymook on the New South Wales south coast, just didn’t give her mate a look-in with a powerhouse display to advance 6&5 into the final 16 in her first attempt at the national title.

“We practised a few times together, and we’re good friends,” Bennett said.

“She played pretty solid golf, but I just kept coming back at her, so it was good.”

Bennett was delighted with her ball-striking, especially having qualified through as the highest-ranked Australian player after the stroke play.

“It was a great achievement to finish that high on the leaderboard (9th) – it’s the biggest tournament I’ve played in so far.”

But that was about where the good news ended for Sydneysiders in the women’s draw. State team players Grace Kim, Doey Choi, Amy Chu and Kyriacou all bowed out, leaving only Bennett alive for the Blues.

Kim was the victim of the maturing Hira Naveed, who fought back from 2-down with seven to play to snatch a 1-up victory with a par up the last.

Her fellow West Australian Kirsten Rudgeley took out Choi to cap a great day for the host state after the men shone earlier.

Stephanie Bunque took down Chu on the final hole, while her fellow Victorian Kono Matsumoto was thrilled to have beaten Japan’s Yuka Yasuda, also 1-up.

Taiwan’s Han Hsuan Yu was superb in dominating Queensland’s Becky Kay 5&4, then celebrated as compatriot Heather Lin advanced 1-up in another cliffhanger over Indonesia’s Rivani Sihotang.

Of the top seeds, Korean favourite Ayean Cho eventually got past Queenslander Issy Taylor 4&3, while Rio Ishii was particularly impressive in taking out fellow Japanese star Yuri Yoshida 5&4.

Japan’s Suzuka Yamaguchi was also in fine form, capping a rough day for Queensland with a thumping 8&6 win over Grace Kwack.