Mollymook teenager Jye Halls has claimed the biggest title in his young career, taking out the coveted NSW Country Championship at Shoalhaven Heads Golf Club.
Halls overcame a one-shot deficit in the final round on Sunday, carding a three under par 68 to go with his opening five under par effort to finish the tournament at eight under.
In second place was the overnight co-leader, Lachie Jones of Dubbo, whose withering burst of birdies on the final three holes of Sunday’s final round wasn’t enough in the end to catch the high-flying Halls.
Tied for third was Wolllongong’s Thomas Heaton and the other overnight co-leader, Beau Willett of Toukley Golf Club.
Hall, though, was the man of the moment. After getting his round started with an early birdie on the par-four 3rd.
A one-hour weather delay threw a curve ball into proceedings, and while it seemed to affect several contenders, the almost always reserved Halls wasn’t one of them.
“It was pretty easy conditions, with not much wind this morning, but then we got the rain delay, and I knew after we started again, I would start pretty good.
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“We were halfway through the fifth when we stopped, and then when we started, I made a birdie. I followed that up with another on the next.”
Hall added two more birdies on nine and 11 to get back to three under for the day. Four straight pars followed before he made a stumble at the 16th. However, the teenager bounced back in style with a much-needed birdie on the 17th to get back to minus eight.
“I didn’t know what the two leaders were doing today in the last group, but I’m happy In the end I just got there,” Hall beamed.
“This is my first big senior win. I came runner-up in the Amateur earlier this year, and this gets me a spot in the NSW Open.”
“I’ve played the NSW Open two times, and it feels good to know I will get back there to play it for a third time.”
Halls admitted there was another motivating factor in today’s win. His mother, Kylie, was celebrating her birthday.
“Winning this is a pretty good birthday present for mum, I reckon,’ He smiled.
In the Interdistrict teams’ event, Newcastle claimed bragging rights with a one-shot win over their neighbours, The Central Coast, with Illawarra finishing in third place, another shot back.
The squad of Oscar Gilson, Jake Ryley, Bryce Pickin, Luke Ferrier, Tom De Wit and David Alexander recorded back-to-back best-of-four round scores of 280 on both Saturday and Sunday to finish at eight under par gross.