Malaysian Alyaa Abdulghanny and the United States Sahith Theegala have claimed the Australian Master of the Amateurs crowns at Victoria Golf Club today.
With a strong northerly wind biting hard, the duo claimed their respective victories in entirely different circumstances.
Theegala began the final round with a comfortable four-shot buffer, and it looked to all the championship was all but his.
The American got off to almost the worst possible start, however, and despite a birdie on the opening hole, he fell to six over after seven holes to open the door to the chasing pack.
Any opportunity was going to be short-lived. With an eagle-birdie finish to his opening nine, Theegala was back in control.
The American ground out seven straight pars on the back nine to squeeze the life out of the chasers, and when he birdied the 17th to go five in front, the title was his.
The luxury of a final-hole bogey mattered little, with Theegala’s 10-under total good enough to win by four.
In the women’s section, it was Malaysia’s Alyaa Abdulghanny who proved too good, winning a thriller after a three-way playoff.
The diminutive Malaysian remained patient all day, and struck when she most needed to with a birdie on the 72nd as the leader, Queensland’s Cassie Porter stumbled with a final-hole bogey.
Taiwan’s Ho Yu An had carved out a two-under-par 70 earlier in the day to grab the clubhouse lead at two-under, which saw her join the playoff.
The playoff was a short-lived affair, with Abdulghanny knocking her tee shot on the short par four to about 25 feet.
When Porter and An blasted their tee shots into the front trap, and failed to get up and down, all that was left for the Malaysian was an easy two putt for the 2020 Crown.
Despite entering the final round with an outside hope, the Blues challenge failed to materialise in either the men’s or women’s divisions.
Grace Kim finished in outright fourth in the women’s while defending champ Steph Kyriacou put on a stellar defence of her crown, finishing sixth.
Kelsey Bennett was one back from her St. Michael’s teammate in 7th, despite opening her tournament with a 79. Doey Choi, battling illness all week, carded a one-over-par round to finish in 17th, and Avondale’s June Song finished in 27th.
In the men’ s Harrison Crowe, making his tournament debut, finished a very credible 7th, while Josh Armstrong grabbed 9th place. Nathan Barbieri finished in 21st, and Canberra’s Harry Bolton finished in 23rd.