Abel Eduard passed a couple of savage tests today, but his biggest still lies ahead if he’s to nab a first major Australian title.
The Melburnian will face the toughest test in Australian amateur golf tomorrow – the seemingly bulletproof defending champion Harrison Crowe – as they square off in the time-honoured New South Wales Amateur final at Pennant Hills in Sydney.
And for the second successive year, the women’s final will be an all-Gold Coast affair with 2022 runner-up Shyla Singh to face Godiva Kim.
But naturally, with a Masters date looming for Asia Pacific Amateur champ Crowe, the majority of the strong local interest will fall on the St. Michael’s member.
Crowe, 21, won the title in commanding style at Links Shell Cove last year, triggering a sensational 12 months in which he also won his state Open Championship at Concord to join legendary Jim Ferrier as the only two players to hold the NSW Open and Amateur concurrently.
Contrast that to Eduard, the effervescent Kingston Heath member who’s without a win and only just beginning to find his feet at the elite level, but shows a great combination of immense power and shot-making potential at age 19.
Both faced their challenges today, but emerged in style.
Eduard had to rattle in a 5m birdie try on the 18th hole of his quarter-final to keep his match alive before winning on the 19th against Declan O’Donovan.
He then cashed in with a superb performance against medallist Chris Fan in the afternoon semi-final, driving the 329m par-4 16th green to seal a 3&2 win in style.
Crowe was locked in a tense battle with Queenslander Sam Slater early, but on either side of a lightning delay, played the seven holes from the ninth in five under to storm to a 3&2 victory.
Should he win tomorrow, Crowe will become just the tenth man to repeat as NSW Amateur champion and the first since legendary amateur Colin Kaye in 1977 to do so.
Singh, who’d earlier had a 21-hole epic in the quarter-finals, was the only player to finish her semi-final before the lightning break. Even though she missed a couple of chances to end her clash with the Australian’s Charlotte Perkins earlier, Singh was still good value for her 4&3 win.
Amazingly, at 16 and eager to atone for her loss to Sarah Hammett in last year’s decider, Singh will be the veteran of tomorrow’s finale with prodigy Kim just 14.
Kim was metronomic in outpointing local fancy June Song, losing just one hole in her 3&2 triumph.
SEMI FINAL THURSDAY: Epic Quarter Battles Set #NSWAM Scene
Two epic women’s matches and a rousing Harrison Crowe comeback have highlighted quarter-final morning at the New South Wales Amateur at Pennant Hills.
Finland’s Henni Mustonen and last year’s finalist Shyla Singh went 21 holes before the Queenslander prevailed.
But it was not before Mustonen had a birdie putt on the 19thhole “horseshoe” out, as Singh’s run towards a second consecutive #NSWam final came literally within a millimetre of ending.
Soon afterwards, Avondale’s June Song went even further, winning with a birdie on the par-5 fifth hole after an entertaining clash with fellow Sydneysider Claire Shin.
Song had been 2-down as late as the 11th hole, but won three of the next four holes only to watch Shin birdie the last to force extra holes.
Singh will face the Australian Golf Club’s Charlotte Perkins in this afternoon’s semi-finals, while Song will make it a Sydney v Gold Coast double when she takes on the emerging Godiva Kim in the other half of the draw.
On the men’s side, Masters-bound Crowe was 3-down through five holes against impressing youngster Kade Webber.
But with a spark around the turn, the St. Michael’s ace took the lead on the 10th and eventually won 2&1.
He’ll next face Brisbane’s Sam Slater, who birdied the 17th to finish Canberra giant Harry Bolton’s chances, also 2&1.
Victorian Abel Eduard took advantage of a spectacular 5m birdie putt on the closing hole, eventually winning on the 19th against Avondale’s Declan O’Donovan.
Eduard watched his birdie try to extend the match do a lap of the cup and then dropped to force overtime and ultimately set up his semi against medallist Chris Fan.
Fan, also of Avondale, progressed relatively smoothly with a 5&4 win over young Sydneysider Ian Kim, not losing a hole in an emphatic display.