Senior wins all-England NSW Am final

The local stars were nowhere to be found as all-England final decided this year’s NSW Men’s Amateur Championship.

Englishman Jack Senior (Haysham Golf Club, UK) defeated fellow countryman Andy Sullivan (Nuneaton Golf Club, UK) in the 36-hole finale at the magnificent New South Wales Golf Club at La Perouse.

Cameron Smith 2011 NSW Amateur Winner: Jack Senior

The pair exchanged the lead several times over the first 18-holes, eventually finishing the round square.

The action all began to hot up on the second 18-holes, it was a different story. Senior, the No. 2 seed, took the advantage two-up on the 26th hole, then continued to build his lead to four-up by the 29th.

That score remained over the next four holes and when he reached four-up with four holes to play it looked as if Senior had the title in the bag.

Top seed Sullivan continued to fight, pegging back a shot on the 33rd hole.

Yet it was all over on the 34th, with Senior winning the match 3/2.

Understandably, Senior was thrilled with the win:

“I’m just really pleased with the result,” he told The Golfer Pacific.

“Matchplay is generally not my strength.

“I’m usually much stronger over 72-holes, so I was really pleased with how I progressed through the matchplay, and then to get the win just exceeded my expectations.

“This should give me real confidence going forward into other matchplay events.”

Senior said that because it was an ‘all-English’ final it was a much more relaxed contest than you might have expected around the course.

“It was great to play with Sully,” he said.

“Obviously we play together and against each other a lot, and it was nice to know that no matter who won it would be an English player,” he grinned.

The pair had to defeat some strong competition to get to the final.

Senior accounted for Luke Humphries (Pymble Golf Club), another Englishman in Tom Lewis (Welwyn Gardens Golf Club, UK), Andrius Belkus (Twin Creeks Golf Club) and another countryman, Neil Raymond (Corhampton Golf Club, UK).

Sullivan also played some super golf to reach the final, defeating Matt Stieger (St Michael’s Golf Club), Dimi Papadatos (Toukley Golf Club), Englishman Josh Loughrey (Wrag Barn Golf Club, UK) and local favourite John Yim (New South Wales Golf Club).

Other notables that were defeated along the way included 2010 NSW Amateur champion, 17-year-old Jake Higginbottom (The Australian GC), NSW Junior team member Jarrod Freeman (Concord GC) and 2010 NSW Amateur finalist from Queensland Tim Hart (Indooroopilly GC, Qld).

The leading 32 players from the NSW Medal (played the week prior at Cumberland and Liverpool Golf Clubs), were eligible to compete in the NSW Amateur Championship

Matchplay was held at New South Wales Golf Club on from January 31-February 2.

Each match was played over 18 holes other than the final, which was played over 36 holes.

The field in this year’s event had a real international flavor, with competitors from England, New Zealand and even Finland as well as a number of interstate players. It ensured some fantastic matches over the course of the championship, and some great results.

Senior’s name is now added to the list of the oldest major event run by Golf New South Wales, having first been played in 1898.

The list of former winners contains a who’s who of NSW and Australian golf greats, including the likes of Bruce Devlin, Jack Newton, Tony Gresham, Brett Ogle, Peter O’Malley, Michael Campbell and Brendan Jones.