Next-gen stars line up for battle at NSW Amateur

Over 240 players have lined up this week for the 2021 NSW Amateur Championship which started on Monday at Magenta Shores Golf Resort and Kooindah Waters Golf Club, north of Sydney.

Following two rounds of brutal stroke qualifying the top-32 men and top-16 women have been determined after Kelsey Bennett from St Michaels took medallist honours in the women’s championship and Jeffrey Guan from The Australian secured the top seed in the men’s championship.

Kelsey Bennett Kelsey Bennett (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Bennett will play her opening elimination match play round against Madison Woodley, whilst defending champion Grace Kim from Avondale has qualified and will play Alena Oppenheimer.

Others who made the qualifying include Stef Hall, Michelle Moon, Ashleigh Arnold, Ella Scaybrook, Clair Shin, Michelle DiNatale, Sophie Yip, Yerin Kim, Chaewon Lee, June Song, Brielle Mapanao and Belinda Ji.

The men’s championship also features predominantly NSW playersgiven the state border issues and a reluctance of players from other states to travel.

Medallist Jeffrey Guan will play Ali Rachid, who was part of a three for seven playoff to decide the final spots in the matchplay field. Former Japanese Tour player, current NSW Mid-AM Champion and the 1999 NSW amateur Champion, Chris Campbell, is another to follow and will play local Keegan Phillips.

Others to watch include Corey Lamb who accounted for recently returned college player Dan Kolar, 4&3, in their first round match, with Novocastrians Hayden Gulliver and Joshua Fuller meeting each other in their opening round. Daley Loumanis has been playing well lately and will meet Beau Willett.

The lower half of the draw includes brothers Bryce and Jye Pickin and Jackson Bugdalski from Castle Hill.

Former champions who have forged a career professionally include the likes of Peter O’Malley (1986), Jack Newton (1968), Jarrod Felton (2014), Brett Drewitt (2012), Jake Higgingbottom who defeated Tommy Fleetwood in 2010 and last year England’s Ben Schmit won the title.

Women’s champions have included Sarah Oh, Nikki Campbell, Karrie Webb and Betty Dalgleish.