Defending champion New South Wales made a power-packed start to the Australian Junior Interstate Teams event which began at Ulverstone Golf Club in Tasmania today.
With a tough draw to contend with, NSW beat Queensland in the morning and then thumped Victoria 7-1 in the afternoon to go unbeaten.
The NSW team was spearheaded by Newcastle star Jake Riley who took down Queensland’s Kai Komulainen at the final hole in the morning and then defeated Victoria’s Max Fedmowski in the afternoon.
Riley, 17, won the Concord Cup and the TPS Sydney junior event in 2022, qualified to play in the NSW Open aged 14 in 2019.
His win over Komulainen came after he slumped to 3-down early on, and finished with an eight-foot par-saving putt for the win at the seventh hole, that pair’s final hole of the day.
“I hung in there,” said Riley. “I knew it was close, but I didn’t know the overall score. It’s just great to win that match and see all the team at the end and be told that we’d beaten Queensland.”
Riley had plenty of support. Sophie Eppelstun, Riley Millars and Ella Scaysbrook all won two matches on day one and Chun-ta Wu also went undefeated with a win in the match against Victorian Rupert Toomey and a tie against Queensland’s Billy Dowling.
NSW has lost most of its winning team from last year at Mt Osmond in South Australia, including the likes of Jeffrey Guan, with only Scaysbrook and Rachel Lee remaining.
“We knew coming in that it would be tough,” said Riley.
“Queensland and Victoria are both very strong, so it’s great to get off to a start like that.”
NSW play ACT and Tasmania on Tuesday and on form could be undefeated through two days, giving the defending champion a leg-up to the final.
South Australia with a win and a tie is the only other undefeated team, the SA team beating Tasmania in the morning and then having a 4-4 tie with the ACT in the afternoon.
A highlight for SA was 11-year-old Katie Seol winning her first match at this level, against ACT’s Emily Mollard.
The strong Western Australian team thrashed Victoria 7-1 but then lost to Queensland in the afternoon, 5.5-2.5, with Sarah Hammett dominating and Komulainen taking down last week’s Australian Junior Amateur runner-up, Joseph Buttress, 3&2.
Play resumes on Tuesday at 7.30am at Ulverstone.
The Golf Australia Interstate Series is a mixed event with eight matches in each contest. Teams consist of five male and five female players other than Tasmania, which has only entered a boys team.