Harrison Crowe has thrown down the challenge to the remaining competitors in the NSW Amateur after a pair of outstanding victories on the opening day of matchplay competition.
Crowe needed an extra hole for victory in today’s morning round of 32 against a plucky Victorian Eduard Abel. The additional duties only served to get the 20-year-old fired up for his afternoon match against NSW Medal winner Western Australia’s Josh Greer.
In a performance as good as he has displayed in the knockout format, the St. Michael’s gun made short work of the top seed, putting Greer to the sword with a dominant 5/4 win.
“Yeah, it’s a good feeling, especially after the close result this morning,” Crowe said post-round.
“It is kind of hard to shoot low like he did and keep it going.
“(Josh) Greer’s a great player, I’ve played him a few times, and I knew I had to come out firing.
And fire he did. Crowe started his afternoon well enough, but he lost a couple of holes in quick succession to be one down by the sixth.
That was the end of the frivolities as far as Crowe was concerned, and when he proceeded to peel a run of five birdies over the next six holes, the match was as good as over.
“I really put the foot down,” he grinned.” I was in the zone.”
Crowe, already one of Australian golf’s brightest talents, has a reputation for taking down top seeds in big events, notably rinsing the then world number seven and top seed, David Micheluzzi, in the opening round of the 2019 Australian Amateur at Woodlands in Victoria.
“I didn’t really expect to win against ‘Micha that day, and to do it was a notch on my belt.”
“It still kind of sets my mentality to this day,” he added.
Jye Pickin had a pair of handy wins, taking care of Dubbo’s Jones Comerford one-up in the morning round before taking out NSW representative Ali Rachid 2/1.
NSW Country Champion Harry Bolton and Legends Tour School bound Grahame Stinson had a real arm wrestle, with Bolton the last man standing after 20 holes in the round of 32.
Bolton’s run was short-lived, however, going down to Queensland’s Quinnton Croker in the afternoon bracket.
NSW Representative Christopher Fan is also looming as a realistic chance of glory after making short work of the luckless Clayton Small in the morning contest, winning 8/7. Fan doubled down in the afternoon, taking out Ben Stieler of Brookwater. After appearing as an easy win for Fan early on in the contest, it became a nail-biter, with the freshly minted NSW Champion of Club Champions needing an extra hole for the win.
Also going quietly about his business is Mollymook’s Jye Halls.
The third seed was barely troubled by Kiama local Ethan Harvey in the morning match, winning 5/4, and took care of the well credentialed Connor Fewkes 2/1 in the afternoon.
Bennett looms large as top chances are bundled out
Top seed Sarah Hammett has strolled into tomorrow’s quarter-finals with a solid 4/3 win over Metropolitan’s Alexandra Phanruck 4/3, while Royal Adelaide’s Caitlin Peirce took out The Australian’s Hayley MacNeil 2/1 in the Women’s division of the NSW Amateur.
However, a couple of the other big names didn’t fare as well, with Justice Bosio (Caboolture), and Victoria Golf Club’s Kono Matsumoto sent packing.
The result of the day almost certainly went to the 2019 NSW Mid-Amateur Champion, Lucie Quilliam. The Moore Park representative taking out 2021 Amateur finalist and NSW State team member Belinda Ji, 3/2.
St. Michael’s Kelsey Bennett, a finalist in this event in 2020, had little trouble this morning, dispatching Cumberland’s Yerin Kim, winning 3/2.
Bennett, runner up at the Women’s Asia Pacific Amateur in November, is slowly returning to the level of form which saw her claim victories in the Tasmanian Open Victorian Amateur and NT Amateur.
“I feel like I’ve started to hit it better as the week has gone on.
“I needed to finish in the top 16. I did that and am thrilled to do it as part of the NSW squad.”
Ominously for her opponents, Bennett said her best golf wasn’t too far away.
“Just a few more putts need to drop,” Bennett added. “I know if I concentrate on the speed a little more and on my green reading, things are going to fall into place.”