Jeffrey Guan will face Pennant Hills’ Andrew Richards in the final of the 2021 NSW Amateur after both players advanced to the championship match at Magenta Shores this afternoon.
Final Times: (36 Holes)
Jeffrey Guan vs Andrew Richards 7.00am.
Grace Kim vs Belinda Ji 7.10am
Top seed Guan, who has been in stellar form, predictably rolled into final albeit with a couple of minor hiccups. After getting out to a sizeable five-hole lead in today’s morning quarter-final against Corey Lamb, the usually machine-like Guan let a few holes slip away late, before finally grabbing a 3-2 win.
Cue the afternoon semi against the well-credentialled Chris Campbell. Guan, cruising at 4-up with four to play and sensing victory, again let his opponent back into the match, losing three holes in a row before finally grabbing the victory with a par on the last.
Richards however, battled hard all day. After winning an arm wrestle over a gallant Weiliang Wang on extra holes, Richards fired in the afternoon to take out Guan’s Australian Golf Club teammate Thomas Heaton 3 -1 in the afternoon.
“It was pretty brutal with the rain and wind,” Richards said.
“I got off to a rough start. I was three over through six this morning but held my nerve.
“Iv’e played really well on the back nine all week, so I knew if I could hang in there I would get my chance.”
“I came out firing this afternoon: I was three up through four, the complete opposite.
“I just played solid in pretty tough conditions in the end.
No one was more surprised with his performance in this week’s amateur than Richards himself. The 2018 NSW representative confided his goal for the week was to simply make the matchplay rounds.
“I have been playing well, but I just wanted to make the matchplay.
“But once I got in, (to the knock-out stage) and winning matches, I’ve had to ground myself a bit.”
Richards admitted the feeling of playing good golf and being in command was very satisfying.
“I’m happy to be playing well again.
“I’ve had some tough times, I know what it’s like to not play well , so I’m enjoying it while it’s here.”
As for tomorrow’s final, and his opponent Guan, Richards was quite philosophical about his approach whatever the result.
“It’s the biggest match I’ve played for sure, but I’m not going to treat it any differently to what I have done over the last two days.
“36 holes is a long time, you know it is going to be a grind, but look, I will go out and enjoy the experience, and if I do that, the result doesn’t really matter, Richards smiled.
Matchplay Quarter-Finals Men:
Jeffrey Guan (The Australian) def Corey Lamb (The Vintage ) 3-2
Chris Campbell (Port Kembla) def Riley Millers (Avondale) 3-2
Andrew Richards ( Pennant Hills) def Weiliang Wang (St Michael’s) 20th Hole
Thomas Heaton (The Australian) def Jye Pickin (Avondale) 3-1
Jeffrey Guan (The Australian) def Chris Campbell (Port Kembla) 2 up
Andrew Richards ( Pennant Hills) def Thomas Heaton (The Australian) 3-1
4.30pm: Ji, Kim set for a battle Royale
Defending champion Grace Kim will face Concord’s Belinda Ji in the final of the NSW Women’s Amateur after a torrid day at Magenta Shores Golf Resort.
With no respite from the fierce southerly and driving rain all day, the pair made looked most likely to handle the conditions better than anyone else.
Ji accounted for the top seed, Kelsey Bennett, 3 -2 In the morning match before she dispensed of a plucky Yerin Kim by the same margin in the afternoon.
“This is up there with the worst I have played in. The wind, right next to the beach, very tough.
“I was just hanging in there.
“Even though it was tough I felt like simply sticking to my game plan and keeping it one shot at a time got me over the line,” Ji said when describing the atrocious weather.
On the other hand, Ji’s opponent in tomorrow’s final Kim was all class against the Australian Golf Club’s Stefanie Hall in the morning quarter-final, claiming a 4 -2 win.
Twin Creeks Claire Shin, however, proved a far more formidable opponent in the afternoon semi. After falling three holes behind early, it took all of the defending champ’s class to fight back into the match before claiming a couple of late holes for a 2 -1 win.
Despite the two finalists being HP squad members and interstate teammates, Ji and Kim have never met one another in matchplay before.
“We have actually never played matchplay before,” Ji confided.
“I’ve played with her a lot. She’s an awesome player and will bring her best.
“It will be a fun and friendly rivalry. Grace is solid all-round. I know she will play great and I know I need to do that too.
“I’m just going to stick with my own game and play how I did over the last couple of days. We’ll see what happens.”
Matchplay Quarter-finals Women:
Belinda Ji (Concord) def Kelsey Bennett (St. Michael’s) 3-2
Yerin Kim (Strathfield) def June Song (Avondale) 1 up
Claire Shin (Twin Creeks) def Ashleigh Arnold (Bonnie Doon) 4-3
Grace Kim (Avondale) def Stefanie Hall (The Australian) 4-2
Belinda Ji (Concord) def Yerin Kim (Strathfield) 3-2
Grace Kim (Avondale) def Claire Shin (Twin Creeks) 2-1
11.45am: UPSET: Ji downs Bennett, Guan continues his march
Belinda Ji has caused the boil-over of the tournament, claiming a 3-2 win over top seed Kelsey Bennett.
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Bennett had no answers for an in-form Ji, going behind early. A remarkable eagle on the tenth hole to ji alll but giving her a stranglehold on the match.
Ji’s opened in the afternoon semi will be Yerin Kim, who claimed the scalp of Avondale’s June Song, one up.
Defending champ Grace Kim proved too good for The Australian’s Stefanie Hall, 4 -2, while young gun Claire Shin defeated Ashleigh Arnold 4 -3 in the other quarter final.
In the Men’s top Seed Jeffrey Guan will face an in-form Chris Campbell after both easily progressed through their morning quarter finals.
Guan accounted for Corey Lamb, 3-2 in a result which ended closer than anticipated, Guan held an impressive five hole lead after nine holes in conditions which were tough for all.
Guan’s semi opponent will be Chris Campbell, who displayed his years of experience in top-level golf to defeat his much younger opponent Riley Millers. Campbell lead all the way to a comfortable 3 -2 result.
The Australian Golf Club’s Thomas Heaton has flown home against Avondale’s Jye Pickin, claiming four holes in a row on the back nine to claim a 3 -1 win.
7.30am: Quarter Finals: Wild Weather set to bite
The quarter finals of the NSW Amateur are underway but the weather isn’t going to be kind.
Players are beginning their matches in a brisk south easterly with persistent rain which is likely to hang around all day.
The mercury isn’t expected to top 22 degrees, and around 25 mm of rain is likely to fall.