Scrivener, Grant & Tighe share NSW Medal

BY Anthony Powter | Australian Mens Amateur Tour | 2009 New South Wales Amateur Championship | Round Four | 02 Feb 2009

Jason Scrivener, Kyle Grant and Lincoln Tighe have shared medalist honours at the NSW Amateur Championship after all three finished the four round qualification series at 5-under-par.

Grant started final round with a sizeable five stroke overnight margin and at one stage had made it to 10-under-par before closing with a disastrous 76. Scrivener in contrast produced at sterling final round 69 in one of the day’s best rounds, whilst Tighe closed with a 73.

“It was tough out there, but I managed to putt well and keep my focus going,” said Scrivener the 2007 Australian Junior Champion.

Where the majority of the field struggled in the blustery conditions on the exposed Bonnie Doon layout Scrivener was able to keep his momentum going, but not without a few troubles of his own.

“I ended with a double, birdie and bogey finish, so it could have gone either way,” he said.

The forty-fifth ranked world amateur had come off an extended rest period, having only played last week’s Lake Macquarie Amateur as his first tournament of the 2009 season.

“Last week at Belmont I was a little rusty, having not played much tournament golf. Today now sets me up for some challenging match play encounters and I’m really looking forward to that.”

The top 32 players qualified for the NSW Amateur Championship proper, which follows a 36 holes knockout match play format for five days, beginning on Wednesday, 7th February at The Australian Golf Club and concluding on Sunday, 8th February.

The defending champion is Michael Raseta who defeated Tim Hart 4&2 last year at Ryde-Parramatta Golf Club only narrowly managed to scrape in having qualified as the 31st seed and will play Lincoln Tighe in the opening match play round.

Arguably the player to beat is Scott Arnold who comes into the NSW Amateur with a win at last week’s Lake Macquarie Amateur. Arnold finished outright fifth in the stroke format, three strokes behind the leaders and the world number 18 is matched up against Rance De Grussa in his opening encounter.

Brendan Smith, who was runner-up to Arnold last week, is another player capable of winning this championship and is the ninth qualifier, after a respectable tied ninth finish at plus 1.

Michael Smyth is another player worth following having also qualified for the match play format as the 16th seed. The 21-year-old from the Sydney suburb of Bankstown continues to make his mark in National Trial events with numerous stellar top-ten performances, more recently at The Dunes Medal in December and the Federal Amateur last October.

Smyth is associated with The Australian Golf Club and the home course advantage on arguably one of the toughest tournament layouts in the country should see him progress well through the draw.

Other notables who have qualified include Brett Rankin (11th), Justin Roach (14th) and Rhein Gibson (13th).

Roach was runner-up at the 2007 Australian Amateur and Lake Macquarie Amateur and is a very consistent performer in the wind with a low ball flight. The draw sees Roach in the bottom half which is arguably the more easier of the two halves, with numerous marquee players having fallen into the top half of the draw. Roach has the experience and could quietly make his way through to the final to give another major amateur title a try. He’s yet to claim one, although he won the New Zealand Foursomes title with Grant Scott in 2007.

Gibson, originally from Lismore on the NSW Northern Coast, has just returned from the US collegiate circuit. Gibson was the top Australian amateur at the 2008 St Andrews Links championship last June and the following week at Turnberry he was one of only three Australians to qualify for the matchplay section of the British Amateur, making it through to the second round.

Gibson has the game to see this event through, as well as the experience. Despite being in the top half of the draw along with Scrivener, Smyth, Smith, Tim Hart and Arnold, I favour his chances this week.

The stage is now set for the business end of the championship and it’s certainly has shaped up to be one of the most exciting NSW Amateur Championships for some time with a blend of youth and experience competing.

In the 102 year history of the Championship former winners of the title have included Jack Newton, Brett Ogle, Peter O’Malley, Tony Gresham and more recently, Brendan Jones, Won Joon Lee and Gavin Flint.

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    About the Author: Anthony Powter

    Anthony brings a vast array of experience having covered the world's biggest golf Tours. An experienced photojournalist, his aim is to bring golf to life with articles of interest coupled with stunning photography.

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