New Zealander and world No. 1
Lydia Ko won the Australian Amateur
Championship at Woodlands Golf Club
in Melbourne Sunday. Ko, who captured the Australian Women’s Stroke
Play title in 2011, defeated Kingston
Heath member Breanna Elliott 4 and 3
in the 36-hole final to become the first
New Zealander to win the Amateur
since Jan Higgins in 1989.
“It feels pretty amazing and it feels
great that I came further than I did last
year, so I’m pretty proud of myself,” the
Ko said she was enjoying the expec-
tations of being the world’s top-ranked
amateur. “I’ve worked hard to become
world No. 1. It’s an honour to be up
there and there are so many other good
players. Some people say you’re world
number one and you should shoot
under par every time and I don’t think
that’s the case; I think it’s more about
Ko is the first international player to
win since Great Britain’s Julie Hall in
1995. She is also one of the youngest
winners in the championship’s his-
tory. Ko earned an exemption into next
month’s LPGA Tour season-opening
ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Germany’s Marcel Schneider won
the men’s championship on the 37th
hole in a hard-fought match with
Queensland’s Daniel Nisbet. Schneider
was 4 down in the match at various
stages but rallied with birdies on four of
his last six holes to reel in the Cabool-
ture Golf Club member.
downside was an almost complete lack
of local media attention. The Australian
Open tennis championship was played
the same week and it dominated the
local media coverage. Greg Norman’s
appearance on the PGA Tour and Tiger
Woods’ rebuttal of Hank Haney’s new
book got more coverage than the
national amateur championships in
the local newspapers.
seven places lasted almost until dark.
Eighteen-year-old Cameron Smith, the
reigning Australian Stroke Play champion, was the medalist, posting scores
of 73-68 for a 3-under par total of 141.
On the women’s side, eventual runner-up Breanna Elliot shot 1-under-par 145
to claim medalist honors.
Both of the defending champions
– Matt Stieger and Ashlee Dewhurst –
Two golf courses located in Melbourne’s famed Sand Belt area, which
date back to 1894, hosted the 2012
championships. Huntingdale Golf
Club hosted the stroke play qualifying
rounds, while Woodlands Golf Club also
held stroke play qualifying and all of the
matches for both the men and women.
The men’s and women’s championships
have been played concurrently since
Fifty nations were represented in
this year’s men’s championship. Three
members of the English national team
played, while the Irish national squad
made its first appearance in Australia
in a decade.
The youngest player in the field was
13-year-old Ryan Ruffels from Victoria
Golf Club, who plays off a scratch handicap, while the oldest player in the field
was 49-year-old Russell O’Callaghan
from Mount Lawley Golf Club in Western Australia. Neither player advanced
to match play.
The championships moved from
March to January this year, with the
expressed hope of attracting more
Northern Hemisphere golfers. One
The men’s cut came at 10-over-par
154, and a 12-man playoff for the final
The men’s stroke pay qualifying
went according to form, with most
of the highest-ranked competitors
advancing to match play. However, the
first two rounds of match play were
characterized by some stunning upsets.