Declan O’Donovan and Godiva Kim have been crowned the 2024 NSW Amateur Champions at Belmont Golf Club today.
For O’Donovan, it was a well-earned second title in as many weeks, while for Kim, it was sweet revenge from her loss to fellow Queenslander Shyla Singh in last year’s women’s final at Pennant Hills.
O’Donovan, who began the matchplay phase of the tournament as the top seed, was never headed in his final against Kempesy’s Andrew Kirkman, much like he had been in his previous contests all week. The Avondale star was out of the blocks fast and out to a five-hole lead by the 11th hole in the morning round.
Kirkman knew that hanging around and keeping the pressure on his younger opponent was the key to getting back into the contest. He staged a rally to claw a couple of holes midway through the morning round, but a misbehaving putter didn’t help his cause. The pair eventually finished the opening 18 with O’Donovan holding a comfortable four-hole lead.
O’Donovan began his afternoon round much like he did his morning grabbing a six-hole lead through 24 holes. To many of the following gallery, the match was all but over. However, Kirkman had other ideas. Back-to-back birdies on the 27th and 28th saw O’Donovan’s lead cut to four, and when the Kempsey Truck Driver won the 31st with a par, a comeback for the ages was looking like a distinct possibility.
The pair halved the 32nd after hitting two approach shots, which could be best described as world-class.
Sadly, however, the par-five 33rd hole would be the end of the road for Kirkman, whose putter again didn’t behave as its owner needed it to. A soft three-putt par from the left edge, left O’Donovan with a four-footer for the championship, which he made no mistake with to seal a well-earned 4/3 victory.
“When I stood over that putt, I Was saying to myself, this one’s to win, and I was a bit nervous, but I was very happy to make it in the end,” a elated O’Donovan said after claiming the championship.
“It was a big, big battle. Andrew played great golf in the wind. He hit the ball better than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
“He didn’t make the putts he wanted, and that was probably the difference, but it was such a good match.”
O’Donovan said two wins in as many weeks had put a smile on his face, and it was a steak that he said he was still pinching himself about.
“Avondale was my first four-round win, and then picking up the NSW Medal and Amateur makes me feel really good.”
“I’ve seen a lot of big names on that trophy. Crowey, I know, but there are a lot more. It’s quite surreal to think I’ll be on it now too.”
KIM MAKES AMENDS TO CLAIM WOMEN’S CROWN
Godiva Kim has claimed her first senior amateur championship with a come-from-behind win over a gallant Rachel Lee in the final of the NSW Women’s Amateur.
The match was a torrid battle, with the lead never more than two holes. Lee took a two-hole lead into the afternoon session.
15-year-old Kim, however, is made of stern stuff and held her own with the NSW state team representative as the afternoon round progressed.
She eventually reigned Lee in on the 29th hole with a birdie three before taking the lead for the first time in the contest on the 30th hole. Kim then scooted away with a withering run of par, par birdie, birdie to close the match out 3/2.
“I’m feeling pretty good about myself; I definitely came around on that last 18,” the victorious Lee grinned.
“I was kind of doubtful of myself, I’m going to be honest. I was quite nervous, even sleeping. But I think I was pretty confident as soon as I started the second 18 and became square with her.”
This win holds extra significance for Kim, who finished runner-up last year to fellow Queenslander Shyla Singh.
“I’m feeling a lot better than last year. I was a lot more nervous last year and I think I crushed myself. I’m so happy to have won.”
Women’s NSW Amateur Final Results
2024 Women’s Strokeplay Final Scores