There might only be one thing hotter than Hunter Valley golfers on the Australian amateur scene – and that’s Hye Park.
Queenslander Park, who three months ago won the Australian Junior title at Coolangatta Tweed Heads, today added her state girls’ title to her burgeoning resume.
Despite a late charge by newly crowned World Junior champion and fellow Queenslander Cassie Porter, Park continued her domination south of Brisbane with an eight-shot romp at Carbrook.
“I’m really happy to get another win in Queensland, this time individually – maybe it’s the weather that suits me!”Corey Lamb.
And in equally impressive fashion on the boys’ side of the draw, Branxton Golf Club member Corey Lamb locked in his own wire-to-wire victory by five strokes.
Lamb, who also represents Concord in Sydney, continues the production line of Hunter Valley youngsters making their mark nationally, led by Australian No.2 Blake Windred.
Last year’s Federal Open Amateur champ, Lamb blew the field away in the opening round and then made his 66 stand up with 69-74-69 to close to finish six under and comfortably clear of Queenslander Blaike Perkins at one under in second place.
But it didn’t start out as smooth sailing for Lamb who began his round very nervously on the 10thhole with a handy overnight buffer.
“Four shots is a nice lead but not huge so I knew I had to start well. But I got really lucky … when my (opening) drive hit the rocks and bounced out of the water,” said Lamb, who had just the one bogey, on the tough par-four 13th.
“(NSW junior teammate Harrison Crowe) made a good start, but when I birdied 11 and 16 I knew I just needed to be steady as the front nine plays a little easier.
“I’m really happy to get another win in Queensland, this time individually – maybe it’s the weather that suits me!”
Crowe, a member at St Michaels, closed to within one of Perkins with a fine 68, but the Bargara club champion, whose title hopes effectively ended with a double-bogey on the 18th, closed strongly with a birdie on the eighth hole to edge out Crowe for second.
Porter played her best golf for the week with an eagle on the 12th the highlight of her four-under-par 68 to finish at five under in total, eight clear of Gold Coaster Shannon Tan in third.
But in reality, it was academic in the chase for Park, whose remarkable week featured an extraordinary 20 birdies and two eagles in her 13-under total – even more stunning considering the tough conditions throughout the tournament.
“I didn’t really worry about the big lead and just tried to hit fairways and greens and make my putts,” said Park, a Year 9 student who’s a member at RACV Royal Pines and will go on to New South Wales next week to defend that state’s junior crown.
“It was really wet and I had to drop a lot and so the course played much longer … (but) with a big lead, I knew I needed to have par or one over and I had one over.”
Park’s national title win in April booked a spot to play alongside her heroes on the LPGA Tour in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Royal Adelaide next February.