Queenslander McGrory wins Lake Macquarie Amateur
BY Anthony Powter | Australian Mens Amateur Tour | 2007 Lake Macquarie Amateur | Round Four | 28 Jan 2007
Blake McGrory will this evening be sending probably his most important email in his nineteen years to date. The address, Tiger’s caddie Steve Williams. The message, "I’ve won the Lake Macquarie Amateur: Thanks Steve". The two have kept in contact since a chance meeting in Kauai, Hawaii during the Grand Slam of Golf in 2000.
McGrory’s parents had taken the teenager over there to watch Tiger play; little did they know what would unfold from their chance encounter with Williams.
McGrory found Tiger’s ball during a critical stage in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf that year. Williams was naturally appreciative for the find and a friendship has since developed, to a stage where Williams has become a mentor for McGrory.
Emails giving the odd tid bit about planning McGrory’s golf career and where to play have been exchanged between the two. McGrory was originally a Kiwi, but is now based on the Gold Coast and part of the Queensland Squad.
For the second time in as many years the Lake Macquarie Amateur went to a playoff after McGrory drained a 30 footer on the 17th to get to 6 under, equal with Justin Roach. Roach had previously nailed a critical putt on the 16th to snatch the lead, be that momentarily.
“The putt at 17 was unreal. I saw the line really well and putted it perfectly. It was one of those putts that you strive for. It went in and I made four on the last. It was then down to the two of us.”
McGrory knows that the title would not have been his except for the way he played in yesterday’s terrible conditions.
“Yesterday’s round was probably the best golf that I’ve every played. That’s what got me where I am now. I was patient when the conditions were terrible, that round was probably the best round of my life and the reason I’m holding this trophy.”
“You do not have to be a gun to win here. Yesterday I finished birdie, birdie and that’s what made it for me. Anything can happen and I just did not want to give up. I just let things panned out and they did.”
The next three months has McGrory playing the main Australasian Amateur events, with the NSW Amateur next finishing with the New Zealand Amateur.
Following today’s win McGrory will now re-access his mid year schedule, not discounting major American amateur events; money permitting. Amateur golf is not cheap, but when you claim the Lake Macquarie Amateur, you need to re-access your position irrespective of monetary pressures. Things were spinning a little in the McGrory camp.
McGrory was still in amazement after events unfolded on the third playoff hole. He and Roach had grinded out the course with the Championship open for the vast part of the day; the title had fallen to him. That’s golf and the nature of pressure in playoffs; anything can happen and it did at Belmont this afternoon.
Craig Watson from Scotland finished 3rd followed by Aaron Pike. Australian Amateur Champion stormed home with a 68 to finish in 5th position. Lester Peterson, who at one stage shared the lead, fell away over the closing holes to finish 6th. A costly error on the 16th spoiled his chances of claiming another title when he failed to clear a fairway bunker, almost incurring a penalty shot when the ball bounced back towards him.
McGrory’s turns 20 tomorrow, you can expect there’s to be some celebration back home on the Gold Coast, once today’s result finally sets in, the long car trip home and media commitments have passed; then again such things will not be on his mind it will be today’s result and what better birthday present could you ask for.
The International Teams event was won by the New Zealand team comprising James Gill and Leighton James with an even par total.
The Lake Macquarie International Junior Championship was won by Tamworth Golf Club’s Timothy Hart. Hart closed with an impressive five under 67 to defeat local player Brendan Smith and World Junior Champion Matthew Giles on a countback.
Photo – Anthony Powter