Blizard wins delayed NSW Amateur Medal
BY Anthony Powter | Australian Mens Amateur Tour | 2008 New South Wales Amateur Championship | Round Two | 07 Feb 2008
In what is turning into a rain soaked NSW Amateur Championship, Rohan Blizard claimed his first NSW Amateur Medal, to be the top seed in the match-play format for the championship proper. Its Blizard’s first NSW Amateur Medal, and confirms his current ranking as Australia’s best amateur.
Adverse weather conditions forced tournament organisers to re-format the traditional four-round stroke-play Medal component, to only a 36-hole determination, with the cut at top sixty and ties vying for 31 match-play places.
Blizard, ranked 5th in the world under the Scratch Players Amateur ranking system, fired a 12-under-par, to claim the Medal by a single stroke from Tim Hart. Scott Arnold finished third, at 9-under-par.
Blizard has improved his 19th world ranking from twelve months earlier through consistent performances, both locally and internationally. In March last year he claimed the Australian Amateur title at his home course at NSW Golf Club, as well as the Tasmanian Open, both major amateur events.
The week after the Australian Amateur, he finished runner’s-up at the Mandurah Eastern Amateur. Blizard’s best international performance during 2007 was finishing 4th in the prestigious Players Amateur, in America last July. With his current form, Blizard must be considered one of the favourites for this week’s title.
Sydney’s weather has continued to deteriorate throughout the week, leaving tournament organisers again with no alternative than to modify, for the second time, the Championship’s format. The first two rounds of match-play have moved to a 18 hole format at Ryde-Parramatta Golf Club. The quarter, semi and final, weather permitting, will return to the traditional 36-hole encounter, which will hopefully see the title determined on Sunday afternoon.
Early opening round casualties include Tim Stewart the 2006 Australian Amateur Champion and 2007 British Amateur runner-up, beaten by Tim Hart 3/2 and Scott Arnold, going down to New Zealand’s Nick Gillespie on the 21st. Gary Wolstenhome also departed the championship in the first round, after Mona Vale’s Michael Raseta disposed the dural British Amateur Champion (1991,2003), 1-up.
Raseta faces Blizard in the second round, and was 2 up through ten holes, before the second round match-play was cancelled due to rain. Justin Roach, runner-up to Blizard in last year’s Australian Amateur, is another playing strongly this week and was 1-up over Jonathan Gann after six holes.
Michael Foster, the current Western Australian Amateur Champion and winner of the 2007 Rice Planters Championship in America, is well placed to secure his first NSW Amateur and currently is against Patrick Brimmer in their second round encounter.
Tournament organisers are hoping the second round matches will be completed by Friday morning, to enable the top eight to move into the quarter-finals Friday afternoon. The problem is, however, there’s no sign the rain is abating in Sydney.