It was a classic homecoming for Amelia Mehmet-Grohn, who announced her return home to Coffs Harbour in a big way, while Maitland’s Clayton Small made the trip up the Pacific Highway for his first tournament in several months, a trip to remember.
Fresh from five years of study and golf at Iowa State College, the long-hitting right-hander Mehmet Grohn took apart the Coffs Harbour layout over the weekend on her way to a dominant victory in the Coffs Harbour Ladies Classic.
After shooting even-par on day one, Mehmet-Grohn carded a craftsmanlike four-under 69 in the final round, winning by an incredible nine shots from Grafton 15-year-old Hollie Fuller.
The fact the final day of the event was able to be played at all was an achievement. After being hammered by 85mm of rain overnight Saturday, all bunkers were declared unplayable, and competitors were forced to tee-up everywhere except when near the green.
The four-time All-American-Scholar, however, was unphased by the less than perfect conditions. After starting the day with a handy three-shot lead, three birdies on the front nine saw it grow to six by the turn.
With seemingly only herself to beat over the closing holes, Mehmet-Grohn, who finished her senior year at Iowa State with a stroke average of 74.30, left nothing to chance, pushing the margin to nine.
Mehmet-Grohn admitted she felt some pressure before tee-off, especially playing in front of so many folks who had supported her.
“It’s my home club so you’re expected to play well at your home course,” she smiled.
“But it’s not just playing for myself but for everyone that’s supported me over the years who I’m very grateful to. So just to play well in front of them is a tip of the cap to them.”
Those who walked the wet fairways to watch Mehmet-Grohn had to be impressed with how much improvement has come from spending so much time honing her craft in Iowa.
Amelia said that her game has improved “tremendously” during her time in the United States.
“I am so grateful for my time at Iowa State and it’s really helped me throughout all walks of life,” she said.
“I’m just so grateful for my experience and I’d do it over again every single time.”
With college and the weekend victory behind her, now it’s time to look forward.
“I would love to turn pro here in Australia and then head back over to America or wherever in the world it’s going to take me and just ride it out and see what we can do on tour.
“It’s really exciting times ahead.”
North Coast Win No Small Feat For Clayton
When he completed his final round of the All Office and Business North Coast Amateur Open at Coffs Harbour, Clayton Small admitted he didn’t think he was a chance of being the winner.
The Maitland tyro, who carded a final-round one-under 69 in the 36-hole event, said he was surprised that his final total of 3-over was enough to secure victory.
“The last three holes I knew I was close,” Small said. “I thought I’d have to birdie 17 where I lipped out., but then I parred 18, so I thought that wouldn’t be enough but then I saw the scores and thought I parred the last two, I’ll see what happens.”
What happened was Small prevailed by one stroke over a trio of home club players in Dave Newick, Logan Toms and Jason Webb.
Newick was level with Small as he teed off on the last hole, but his final drive went left, and a 12-foot putt for par to force a playoff didn’t break enough from right to left to fall.
The Amateur Open, the culmination of Coffs Harbour Golf Club’s annual Festival of Golf, is a tournament event Small said he’d had his eye on for many years.
“I’ve always wanted to play it but there’s always been other tournaments on at the same time,” he said.
“This is the first one in months but there’s tournaments pretty much every weekend now until Christmas.”
Small said he was confident coming into the event, given his recent form.
“I’ve been playing really good the last three or four months. I haven’t shot over par that often,” he said.
“I think only once or twice in the last three months, so I thought I’d give it a red-hot crack.”
Small said maintaining that form has been difficult considering the amount of competition golf he’s been able to play while the Hunter has had to endure COVID-restrictions.
“At our club, our time sheet comes out at eight o’clock and you could not get on. The time sheet was filled by 8.05,” Small explained.
“And we’ve only just come out of lockdown last week so it’s been tough.”
Ladies Classic – proudly sponsored by The Golf Centre
Winner – Amelia Mehmet – Grohn 142
Gross Runner Up – Holly Fuller 151
Third – Carrie Fagan 164
Nett Winner – Maddie McKee 147
Nett Runner Up – Gabby Bowles 149
Junior – Holly Fuller
North Coast Amateur – proudly sponsored by All Office and Business
Winner – Clayton Small 143
Gross Runner Up – Logan Toms 144 C/B
Third – David Newick 144 C/B
4th – Jason Webb 144
Nett Winner – Shane Cutmore 140
Nett Runner Up – Ben McEvoy