New South Wales completed a stunning week and a brilliant victory in the Australian Junior Interstate Teams Matches at Ulverstone in Tasmania today.
The Blues tied their last match – 4-4 against Western Australia – the half a point all that was required to win the re-imagined mixed championship.
The titanic final match of the week could have sent the trophy three different ways. NSW needed a tie or a win to take the trophy, WA could pinch the championship with a strong win over NSW, and Queensland, with five points and a strong individual points tally, had a chance as well, had WA been able to get over the top of NSW.
Ultimately it was close all morning and it was a debutant, 17-year-old Chun-Ta Wu from Long Reef Golf Club, who secured the vital point that delivered NSW the overall victory.
Wu had enjoyed a remarkable week in which he would be one of just four players across the six teams to go unbeaten, but he was involved in a tough match against WA’s Ollie Marsh.
Having started on the 14th tee, that pair reached the par-5 11th tee with Wu 3-up and knowing what he had to do.
Some of the team members were out on the course and they knew that NSW captain Jake Riley, playing in the last match against WA’s Joseph Buttress, was in trouble.
So it was going to fall to Wu to finish it. Buttress would eventually beat Riley 5&4, inflicting the only defeat of the week on the NSW skipper.
“I was told on the third-last hole that we needed one point,” Wu said afterward. “And I was ‘dormie’ at that stage.”
What happened next was remarkable. Wu hit a 2-iron shot up to the front fringe with his second shot and was in good position, but his chip was clumsily long.
Marsh, who had a fine week himself for WA, promptly slammed home a birdie putt from 30 feet, leaving Wu with a 20-footer of his own to tie the hole with a birdie, and win the match.
He nailed the putt and the match, and as it turned out, the championship.
NSW finished with 5.5 points from six matches for the week, half a point ahead of Queensland on 5 points and a point ahead of WA on 4.5.
Queensland had smashed Victoria 7-1 in its final match to post what could have been a winning tally. In particular the big margin put the Queenslanders in a position where, had WA beaten NSW narrowly, they would have leapfrogged into a championship-winning position.
Sarah Hammett, Harry Takis and Harrison Gomez again were outstanding for Queensland, a team which lost just one match all week – against NSW on the first day.
But NSW was a deserved winner, going undefeated through the week and winning the girls’ championship on the back of unbeaten streaks by Sophie Eppelstun and Ella Scaysbrook. There were three unbeaten players in its group, including Wu, while WA’s Amanda Gan was the only player from a team other than NSW to receive a medal for being undefeated.
“I think it was just the vibe we had,” said Wu. “The whole team played a part. I don’t think we had a weak link.”
Queensland won the boys’ division while NSW won the girls’ section.