Aussie Amateur carnage as favourites fail

The winner of the 2012 Australian Amateur championship is anyone’s guess following the demise of many of the big name amateur stars at the close of play at Woodlands today.

Kato, Schneider, Harrop and Ruben have progressed to the quarter-finals at the expense of the marquee names of Holman, Stieger, Sinnott, Higginbottom, Campbell and Smith.

Daniel Bringolf, Jordan Zunic and Geoff Drakford balance the draw sheet with more familiar names left to contest for the national title.

In contrast to last week’s Master of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne, this Australian Amateur appears to be flying under the radar at present.

That’s taking nothing away from the superb Woodlands layout – a stunning sand belt course that needs to be played.

However when big name players are accounted for so early and club officialdom at Huntingdale appear more concerned about the overuse of the practice putting greens by English Elite Squad rather than holding the championship, this Australian Amateur will struggle to gain momentum.

Today, the elite of Australian Amateur golf were accounted for in a day of carnage brought on by lesser known players.

One player’s loss is another’s gain and there were plenty of gains made during the today’s second and third rounds by players eager to claim the prized scalps of Golf Australia’s elite.

Photo Gallery

Sondjaja Ruben accounted for Nathan Holman in the morning second round and has progressed to the quarter-finals at the Australian Amateur Championship in Melbourne (Photo: Anthony Powter)

Picture 1 of 13

15-year-old Sondjaja Ruben stole Nathan Holman’s thunder with a solid 1-up win against the local favourite. It was a stellar match to follow, only decided on the 18th green at Holman’s home club.

Holman carried the weight of expectation on his broad shoulders with Woodlands members out to see if their boy could secure back-to-back victories after claiming the Master of the Amateurs last week.

Holman was unlucky and two wayward shots effectively cost him the match – a bladed green side bunker shot on the 15th and his drive down the 18th which ended in the left-hand side scrub.

Ruben, to his credit, played impressive golf to set up his first quarter-final appearance in a national championship.

Ruben is coached under the watchful eye of John Serhan at St Michaels Golf Club in Sydney and went on to account for Blair Riordan in the afternoon’s second round. He will meet Daniel Bringolf in tomorrow’s top-bracket quarter-final.

Bringolf is playing stellar golf and has become a warm favourite to take this championship title.

Earlier Bringolf disposed of D.J Loypur, 7&6, and then went on to claim Todd Sinnott, 4&3.

Ricky Kato defeated the top-seed and Australian representative, Cameron Smith, 1-up in their third round match after Smith had earlier accounted for England’s Ben Loughrey, 2&1.

The loss will be a real body blow for Smith after playing well during qualifying and winning his match against the talented Loughrey.

Kato will meet Germany’s Marcel Schneider in the other top-bracket quarter-final after the German accounted for defending champion, Matt Stieger.

Stieger was behind early in their third round match with Schneider at one stage six under par through seven.

In what will be arguably the toughest of the quarter-finals, Geoff Drakeford will meet Jordan Zunic after Drakeford accounted for Germany’s Max Kraemer on the 20th after winning his second round match over Theodore Coroneo, 5&4.

Drakeford is swinging well and looks confident. The Victorian is due for a win and the opportunity is certainly there should he account for Zunic, which will not be easy.

Zunic earlier defeated Ben Holis 1-up and New Zealand’s Jonny Ratcliffe, 7&5.

The other bottom-bracket quarter final will be between Christopher-John Harrop and Daniel Nisbet.

With Golf Australia’s elite sent packing and some fresh faces progressing through to the quarter-finals it will be interesting to see how this championship unfolds.

Some have points to prove, others are young and eager to take their game to the next level.