Gee what a Day at the Lake Macquarie Amateur
BY Anthony Powter | Australian Mens Amateur Tour | 2006 Lake Macquarie Amateur | Wrap | 29 Jan 2006
Final Day Photo Gallery – Lake Macquarie Amateur
A new course record, extra holes, then a sudden death playoff, these were the events that unfolded on the final day of the 2006 Greater Building Society Lake Macquarie Amateur Championship. Englishman Adam Gee would hold on by the narrowest of margins from Australia’s Jason Day, but only after a real struggle.
A final round of 63 elevated Jason Day into the playoff with Gee. Day shot the lights out of the Belmont layout with five birdies and an eagle for a closing 30 on the back nine to claim a new course record. It was inspiring golf from Day, confirming he is presently one of the hottest young talents in Australian Golf.
Both Day and Gee finished the tournament at 15 under (273), a shot ahead of Won Joon Lee who also found the conditions right for scoring, shooting a 64. Richard Gallichan had another solid day with a 67 to finished outright fourth.
But it was the birdie streak by Day that set the stage for the playoff, the first since 1998 when Brett Rumford nudged out another Englishman Gary Wolstenholme.
This time the tables would reverse and see an English victory but only after five playoff holes where the result could have swung either way.
Gee rates his victory in the Lake Macquarie Amateur as the best of his career to date.
“Over my par putt on 17 I knew I was one in front of Jason. When I missed the putt, I then knew we were even. Jason was scoring out there and coming home strong. I approached the 18th tee knowing I needed to just play it safe and make par.”
“The first ten holes were plain sailing for me. I got it to six under and was ahead by a few. Then bogeys at 11, 12 and 13 cost me. Two real good saves on 14 and 15 got me back and I was a bit unlucky on 17 when I got a flyer and the ball flew the green. Generally my game was good today.”
“It was good to match Jason with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Jason played solid all day and the playoff holes we were neck and neck. This is my best victory to date, you only have to look at who’s won this to realise that.”
Day knew he had to pull a low score out to have any chance of claiming the tournament.
“Starting on the 10th tee I knew I had to do something to finish up high. The main thing I did was have fun out there today. To get into the playoff from the position which I started in the field, well that in itself, is a great result for me.”
“A couple of my putts in the playoff holes came up short of the heart and could have gone in. But you have to take the good with the bad and I learnt a lot out there today. To go close to winning this one in my first attempt is a good result. You have to move on and keep working at it.”
Day’s next tournament is the British Open pre-qualifying next week. He plans to play the Victorian Open, Tasmanian Open then all the national selection events before going to the US.
In a tournament where the players give a wrap and praise, you can see why Lake Macquarie Amateur trophy is sought after by many of the world’s finest amateurs. At the start of the tournament, 15 of the top 30 world amateurs came to Belmont. Some had rounds they would rather forget, others like Day and Gee will remember this tournament for some time.
It was a fitting result that Jason Day took the course record from local golden boy and former US Amateur Nick Flanagan. After playing more that 23 holes in a day, he simply deserved it. Flanagan will now have to make a home visit and as proud locals were heard murmuring in the bar over a few beers at the end of the presentation, “Nick will come back and do it, he did a 62 before on the old layout.”
Adam Gee well he also was seen celebrating with a beer, leaving Belmont with a smile on his face and draped in a British flag – well as the British say – “Well done old chap!”
Photo – Anthony Powter