New South Wales Amateur to be hotly contested

BY | Australian Mens Amateur Tour | 2005 New South Wales Amateur Championship | Preview | 07 Feb 2005

A quality field, boasting a mixture of local and overseas amateur stars, will make this weekend’s Volkswagen NSW Amateur Championship one of the best events of the year.

Two of Sydney’s best private golf courses, Pymble and Killara will prove the ideal test for a field that also boasts four members of England’s World Class Performance Program Elite Squad. Having competed at Newcastle’s prestigious Lake Macquarie International tournament last week, look for one of the hottest-scoring Amateur Championships on record.

Lawrence Dodd, James Ruth, Paul Waring and Gary Wolstenholme might not have a huge following in Australia but will be part of a team that always performs well when it makes the long journey from England.

Indeed three of the four will be playing in Australia for the first time this trip, although playing here is nothing new for Wolstenholme.

The 44-year-old is a regular participant and this will be his eighth attempt to build on his international successes. He almost won the Lake Macquarie title in 1998 when he lost to West Australian Brett Rumford in a play-off.

Dodd, 21, joined the Elite Squad having made his full England debut in September’s Home Internationals. He’s a winner of the Greek Amateur in 2003 and last year finished runner-up in the West of England Stroke Play Championship and in the Peugeot Classic in France, where he also helped win the Nations Cup for England. Dodd also enjoyed a successful run in the English Championship, reaching the quarter finals where he was beaten by Wolstenholme.

Ruth, who has just celebrated his 20th birthday, is another recent addition to the Elite Squad. Capped at every level for England, he made his full international debut against France in May.

At the Home Internationals Ruth stepped in as a replacement for Paul Waring, who was unfortunately injured, and helped England regain the title. The two England appearances topped a highly successful year for Ruth, who won the Berkhamsted Trophy and the Royal North Devon Easter Medal. But for injury, Waring would have made his full England debut in the Home Internationals.

He earned caps at under-16 and boys levels and was England Boys captain in 2003.

He enjoyed a successful 2004, winning the Peugeot Classic, finishing runner-up in the Duncan Putter and third in the West of England Stroke Play. He was a member of the England side that won the silver medal in the European Youths Championships in Ireland.

Still if the visitors think they can breeze into Australia and waltz away with one of our major amateur titles they’re in for a shock.

Some of the best amateur talent we’ve produced in years will be waiting for them. Among them will be Won Joon Lee, who gave professional Peter Lonard and Anthony Summers a run for their money at the New South Wales Open in November.

Others likely to make their presence felt include Mitchell Brown, Lucas Bates, Tristan Lambert, Danny An and Mitchell Harry.

Indeed Lee, the big-hitting 19-year-old from Concord, will be strongly favoured to add the Volkswagen NSW Medal and Amateur to his resume. A member of the Australian Golf Union national squad, Lee has already shown he has the game to take him to the very top.

He is a winner of the Korean Amateur, a former NSW Junior champion and last year, besides his fourth in the NSW Open, finished runner-up in the Pennant Hills Cup, equal fourth in the Lake Macquarie Amateur, equal sixth in the Riversdale Cup and eighth in the Tasmanian Open.

Mitchell Brown has also won plenty of fans with his impressive play. Also chosen in the AGU national squad, Brown is a winner of the NSW Foursomes and a former finalist of the NSW Amateur, going down to Gavin Flint at Royal Sydney last year among some sterling performances.

Lucas Bates, from the Long Reef club in Sydney is also an improver and the 33-year-old is a NSW squad member, a winner of the Long Reef Medal and also finished 10th in the Volkswagen NSW Medal in 2004.

Mitchell Harry is another of the young lions from Concord and the 19-year-old qualified for the Australian Open in 2004 and also won the Horizons Amateur Championship.

Bankstown’s Danny An is another one worth watching.

The teenager finished second in the Junior Vardon Trophy in 2004 and third in the NSW Junior Championship. Some impressive wins during the year included the Springwood Junior Open, Moore Park Junior Vardon and Monash Junior Masters.

Liverpool’s Tristan Lambert can never be overlooked either. A member of the New South Wales Colts, the 22-year-old finished third in the Yowani Open last year (an event he won the previous year) and runner-up in the Gold Creek Classic.

He is also a former winner of the prestigious City of Sydney Amateur Championship.

The Voilkswagen New South Wales Medal will be decided with one round played over the Pymble and Killara courses on the first two days after which the leading players tackle 36 holes at Pymble on the final day.

Source – NSWGA
Photo – Anthony Powter

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