Interstate: Late charge home keeps Blues in the hunt

A withering late charge home in a couple of contests has helped the NSW Blues snatch a vital win against South Australia and keep their interstate title defence alive at the 2024 Australian Teams Matches opening day at Southport Golf Club.

After a surprising six-matches-to-two defeat in the opening morning contest against Victoria, the Blues, led by the outstanding performance of team Co-Captain Jye Pickin with a barnstorming 7/6 win, rallied to a 5 to 3 result in what was a must-win contest against the same opponents they triumphed over in last year’s thrilling final at St. Michael’s Golf Club.

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Newcastle-based Pickin was but one of several players who stepped up after the slow morning start, with a couple of the Blues forced to fight back from early deficits in their afternoon matches.

Pickin’s Avondale teammate Rachel Lee, who had defeated Victorian Molly McLean 3/1 in the morning contest, conjured her way to an important half in the afternoon contest against Matilda Miles after being four down through six holes, while Coby Carruthers, who was three down after five, claimed the scalp of Kyle Hayter, one-up.

Despite the afternoon battle-royale, Lee was quietly pleased with how she played throguhout the day.

 “I hit some solid shots in the second match, even though I didn’t get off to a good start at first, I had a few birdies in there to finish.”

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Match scores (click to view)

Debutant Sophie Eppelstun grabbed a vital half in her afternoon match against Reagan Denton, while fellow debutant Jeff Pullen, who sat out the morning contest, can consider himself unlucky to only have squared his afternoon match after being two up with two holes to play against Jack Tanner.

Ella Scaysbrook, who had no answers for a high-flying Jazy Roberts in the morning contest, going down 4/3, but bounced back to take down Australian representative Caitlin Pearce in the afternoon contest 3/1.

“It was always going to be a good match, She’s (Caitlin) a good player, but I felt confident.

“Even though I lost to Jazzy, I played well. I didn’t want to get down on myself, I just went out and did the exact same thing I did this morning, and it pretty much paid off,” Scaysbrook grinned.

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Burdened with an annoying finger injury, Blues Co-captain Annika Rathbone could be excused for wanting to forget the christian name Amelia after losing to Victorian Amelia Harris in her morning match and Amelia Whinney in the afternoon contest. 

Reigning NSW Amateur Champ Declan O’Donovan claimed the scalp of the 2023 NSW Amateur Champ, Abel Eduard 3/2 in his morning contest.

The Avondale gun had to show plenty of fight in his afternoon contest in his match agasint his 2023 interstate Matches nemesis Kade Bryant,however, grabbing an all-important half after being three down through 12 holes.

Co-Captain Jye Pickin was a mix of both thrilled and relieved to have got his first win on the board and, with along with it, the first point of the contest for the Blues.

“I think there was a lot of excitement and passion this morning in the team, and that probably equalled a little bit of nerves,” 

“It was a really tough battle, but the team have come out firing this afternoon and put on a real good performance,” Pickin smiled after his win.

Pickin admitted he knew his morning contest was going to be a tough affair against the 2023 Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion Jasper Stubbs, 

“I knew it was going to be a really tough battle against Stubbsy with where he’s been in thre last few weeks, I knew I had to play well, but he made a few good birdies coming in which was the difference.”

Pickin’s afternoon match was a completely different affair, and one he knew he 

” I just tried to stay real patient, I wasn’t really counting how many holes were left.”

“I had maybe five or six and obviosly in matchplay you know you’ll be on the front foot, but yeah, it felt good to play some solid golf.”

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