Reigning Golf Challenge NSW Open Champion Harrison Crowe and the dynamic Kelsey Bennett will spearhead a new-look NSW Blues team when the Australian Interstate Teams Matches return tomorrow for the first time since 2019.
Being held at Sorrento Golf Club on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the re-imagined series returns in a merged male/ female format after a two-year absence due to COVID-19.
Crowe, 20, enters the tournament as the stand-out male amateur in the competition, his World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) at an all-time high of 30.
The St. Michael’s young gun made a habit of collecting silverware during the recent Australian summer, walking away with the NSW Open and the 2021 Victorian Amateur, Australian Master of the Amateurs and the NSW Amateur titles. By taking out the NSW Amateur and Open double, Crowe joined the legendary Jim Ferrier (1937, 38) as one of only two golfers to achieve the feat.
Joining Crowe in the NSW team is Jye Pickin of Avondale. The pair were part of the men’s teams that went down to Victoria in the 2019 Final (men’s) at Tasmania Golf Club back in 2019.
NSW Golf Club’s Harry Bolton, who earned State honours in 2020 and 2021 will make a much awaited appearance at national level., while Avondale’s Chris Fan, who earned his spot after a series of impressive performances over the Aussie Summer, will also debut this week at Sorrento.
The NSW women’s quartet is no less impressive. After claiming their second consecutive interstate crown in 2021 at Royal Hobart, this year’s squad features three new faces.
With 2020 Australian Women’s Classic Champion Steph Kyriacou, Grace Kim (2022 Epsom Tour member) and team stalwart Doey Choi turning professional since the last interstate contest, the team contains three new faces.
Kelsey Bennett, Vic Amateur Champ, Tasmanian Open Champ, and runner up finish in the Women’s Asia Pacific Amateur to her name, is the nominal figurehead of the four. Joining Bennett is the impressive Belinda Ji, coming into this year’s series fresh off a t8 finish at the Australian Women’s Classic, plus debutants Hayley MacNeill and Brielle Mapanao of the Australian Golf Club.
Tomorrow’s first match for the Blues will be against South Australia, teeing off at 7.30 am, followed by Tasmania at 12.30 pm. Teams will play each other once in the traditional round-robin team match play format before the champion is decided in the final.