Charlotte Heath and Jediah Morgan – photo Kirsty Wrice Golf Australia
The Australian Amateur Golf Championship titles have been decided in hot and sultry conditions at the Royal Queensland Golf Club in Brisbane today with both the 36 hole men’s and women’s contests proving to be relatively one-sided affairs.
Given the severe storms that surrounded the South East Queensland region on Friday, there was concern about the potential for major delays in play over the weekend but the respective events were completed on schedule.
20-year old Queenslander, Jediah Morgan, was never behind in his match-up against Northern Ireland 17-year old, Tom McKibbin, eventually taking out the title 5 & 3.
England’s Charlotte Heath established a massive 8 up lead at lunch over Indonesian Ida Ayu Indira Melati Putri in the women’s final and although the 22-year old from Bali fought back in the afternoon to reduce the gap she would eventually go down to the West Yorkshire golfer, 7 & 6.
Heath is considered a bright young star in British women’s amateur circles while Putri has recently completed a degree while playing golf at Purdue University in Indiana.
Given the conditions, it was some surprise that Putri, so used to playing in the heat of her homeland, was so outplayed by Heath who had, of course, come out of an English winter to play in Australia.
Morgan is a member of the Royal Queensland Golf Club but hales from Hattonvale to the west of Brisbane where until recently his parents owned a nine-hole golf course. Morgan has been a member at Royal Queensland for three years and has been coached for the past six years by the Head Professional at Royal Queensland, Chris Gibson.
Morgan won the Asia Pacific Junior title in Taiwan last year and was named Queensland Junior Male Amateur in 2019.
This win, however, will elevate his status in the game and the world ranking to a significantly higher level and brings him into contention for a start at the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship later this year and guarantees a start at the Australian Open Championship later in 2020.
He was out of the blocks quickly in today’s final racing to an early 6 up lead, although McKibbin fought back to be just 4 down at lunch. Morgan won two holes early in the afternoon to be 6 up again but McKibbin kept the match alive when he reduced the margin to just 3 through 29 holes before Morgan steadied the ship and won comfortably.
McKibbin had been the 16th in qualifying on Monday and Tuesday while Morgan was 28th.
England claimed both the medallist honours and overall titles in the women’s contest, Emily Toy leading the 36-hole strokeplay field while her fellow English squad member, Heath, won the overall title.
There has been some suggestions that the Australian Amateur title might well be going to a 72 hole strokeplay event in the future.
In this writer’s eyes such a move would be a retrograde step for the iconic championship in Australian golf.
72 hole strokeplay amateur championships are a dime a dozen and not every event has to be seen as a means of preparing golfers for professional golf.
Let’s hope the rumours are just that.