Many of the country’s most accomplished junior golfers will converge on Ocean Shores Country Club and Byron Bay Golf Club in the NSW Northern Rivers next week to compete for glory in the time-honoured NSW Junior Championship.
A strong field of 215 boys and girls will battle it out over four days vying for the twin Championships. This year will see remarkable 74 players on a handicap of scratch or better.
Reigning Girls Champion Sarah Hammett of Emerald Lakes will return to defend her crown. The 16-year-old, who won the 2022 NSW Women’s Amateur and finished a close third in the 2023 Women’s NSW Open at Tuncurry in March, is at the top of her game. Hammett is Australia’s third highest-ranked female amateur golfer, behind US college-based Maddison Hinson-Tolchard and fellow Queenslander Justice Bosio.
The girls’ contest is far from a one-player show, though. Current Australian Junior Champion, and recent North Coast Junior Masters winner, Ann Jang of New South Wales Golf Club will aim to add a second NSW Junior title to her 2021 Victory at Lynwood Country Club.
Avondale’s Rachel Lee, who won the Macarthur Junior Masters earlier this month and helped both NSW Interstate Teams to victory, will also be in the mix, while Ella Scaysbrook of The Australian Golf Club, coming off her success at last week’s NSW CHS Championships, will also be looking to add another title to her name too.
2022 Boys Champion Coby Carruthers won’t defend his crown, unfortunately, leaving the chase for the Jack Newton Cup wide open.
Could Bonnie Doon’s Samuel Cascio continue his winning streak after claiming the Macarthur Junior Masters and the NSW CHS Championship titles in the last few weeks with a third major victory, or will Ethan Anderson of Virginia Golf Club on a handicap of +4.6 be the player to beat?
Winning Junior Interstate team members Toby Farrar (The Australian), Shashank Koirala (The Lakes), and Chun-Ta Wu (Long Reef), who have all been triumphant at Jack Newton Junior Golf events this year, will also be players to watch out for throughout the week.
Known for unearthing future golfing sensations, many of Australian Golf’s finest players, including Peter O’Malley, Matt Jones, Jan Stephenson and Sarah Kemp, have previously won the title. Recent winners include the 2023 PLAY TODAY NSW Open Champion David Micheluzzi (2014), PGA Tour Winner Lucas Herbert (2012), and Challenge Tour regular Jordan Zunic (2010).
Besides Hammett and Jang, recent winners of the girls include LPGA player Karis Davidson (2015) and June Song (2017), who was a pivotal member of this year’s all-conquering NSW Interstate Series Team.
This year’s host venues are the picturesque Ocean Shores Country Club and Byron Bay Golf Club. The challenging yet fair courses will provide the ideal backdrop for the 72-hole Championship.
All players will complete at least one round at both host venues, with a cut taking place after the second round, with the final two rounds at Ocean Shores.
The 2023 NSW Junior Championship begins on Tuesday morning, with play set to start around 7.30am.