Ann Jang has made an emphatic statement in the 2023 Australian Junior Amateur underway at Tasmania Golf Club, vaulting to a four-shot lead at the halfway mark of the storied tournament.
Jang, 15, who plays out of New South Wales Golf Club, carded a blemish-free second-round six under par 67, including four birdies and an eagle, to reach eight-under total.
On a day when the weather had more than its fair say in proceedings, it now looks like a case of who can catch the Central Coast young gun.
A winner of the junior division of the TPS Hunter Valley in February, Jang was ninth in the Junior Amateur last year and is no stranger to success, having won the NSW Junior Amateur in 2021.
Jang’s highlight of the day was her eagle at the par-five 16th hole after a brilliant 200-metre shot in with a hybrid and a long-range putt that dropped.
“It was a really good round for me,” she said later. “Everything was fine. No three-putts today! The course is good, and I’m happy with my score.”
Jang emigrated to Australia from South Korea with her family when she was 11, momentarily moving to the Central Coast before shifting back to Sydney, where she has been a vital member of a winning New South Wales pennant team.
Sitting behind Jang is Kiwi Euneseo Chio at four under. The only other girl to sit in red figures is Avondale’s Rachel Lee, who kept her composure in some torrid conditions to post a one over par 74 to go with her opening round 71.
“It was really cold,” Lee said. “It was a bit better than the practice rounds, except there was a bit of rain today, and it started just when I teed off.”
Lee added the conditions made it tough to stay focused, but as the round wore on, she found her stride. Sadly though, she felt fewer putts might have helped.
“Usually, people start to speed up a bit when it’s cold. They start panicking, but I tried to keep calm, pace myself, and be stable.”
“I hit a few pushed tee shots but recovered, and then I gave myself some birdie chances, but they just wouldn’t drop in.”
With two more rounds to go and the conditions not expected to improve, Lee said if she can overcome some soreness in her legs, she hopes to be in the mix come Friday.
“My legs and feet are a bit sore, but apart from that, I’m feeling great.
“I just have to believe in myself and not think about the scores. I’m not looking at the leaderboard. I’m just trying to keep my pace going. My shot selection is a bit better than my last few tournaments.”
Despite saying she was consciously not looking at the scores, Lee did admit a victory this week would be a fantastic result,
“It would be just great to win again,” she grinned. “I won the Queensland amateur last year, it’s been quite a while since I have won, so you know, it would be pretty good to win.”
Riley, Radevski Fly the Flag for the Blues
After opening with matching three-under-par 69’s, St. Michael’s Alex Radevski and Toronto’s Jake Riley both carded second-round 75s in the tough conditions to remain the best of the NSW contingent in the male division of the #AusJnr.
Riley’s round was a roller-coaster, with five birdies and a double bogey extinguishing the four birdies he made on the back nine, while Radevski found the going just as tough on his front nine with two doubles and two bogeys.
Pymble junior Coopar Nianos is in a tie for 11th at plus one, while Vidur Subramaniam and Shashank Koirala sit at plus three.