photo Golf Australia
Queensland’s Louis Dobbelaar and NSW’s Grace Kim are the respective Men’s and Women’s Australian Amateur Golf Champions for 2021 following their victories at the Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide today.
In the newly adopted format of 72-hole stroke-play to decide the winners of the prestigious title, Dobbelaar won by two over NSW golfer Jeffrey Guan with Perth’s Michael Hanrahan Smith another two shots back while Kim produced the best round of the day by some six shots in the women’s division to win by seven shots over West Australian Kirsten Rudgeley with another two shots to the Gold Coast’s Hyejun Park.
The 19 year old Dobbelaar, the 2016 New Zealand Amateur Champion at the age of just 15, came from four shots of the 54-hole pace set by South Australian golfer, Jack Thompson, a birdie at his 17th hole, providing the cushion to hold out Guan who was playing twenty minutes behind and who would bogey that same hole as he looked to force a playoff.
Thomson had begun the day five ahead but a shaky start to his day opened the door for Dobbelaar and by the turn the Brookwater Golf Club member was within one.
Thompson’s woes continued through the back nine and he would add insult to injury when trying to force the issue at the 17th, took a horror quadruple bogey and eventually finished with a round of 82 only to be disqualified for an inadvertent scorecard error.
It was a sad demise for Thompson who had promised so much to his local admirers, especially following his brilliant 65 on Wednesday and a substantial 36-hole lead.
For Dobbelaar, it continues an already remarkable amateur career which had until now been highlighted when becoming the youngest player to win the New Zealand Amateur title at the age of 15.
“This is special. I don’t know if it has sunk in yet,” he said.
“I played some pretty good golf at times this week and I know how well Jack and others played, so I’m pretty excited to have my hands on the trophy.”
Kim, from the Avondale Golf Club in Sydney, is Australia’s highest ranked female amateur golfer and in six weeks’ time will be winging her way to the US to play the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship but she will head there with the confidence of such an emphatic win behind her.
The Junior Australian Amateur Champion in 2017and reigning Olympic Youth Champion, Kim came from two shots off the 54-hole pace of Rudgeley to win by seven such was the nature of her great round today. A birdie blitz in the middle of her round today saw Kim race to an unassailable lead and she was even allowed the luxury of a double bogey at the last and still win by seven shots.
The event saw the introduction of stroke-play for the first time to decide the national champion and in that regard, both Dobbelaar and Kim have become the first to win the title under this format.