Stieger wins Western Australian Amateur
There appears to be no stopping Matt Stieger’s success this Australian summer.
The world number nineteen collected yet another top amateur title with his play-off win over Ray Chow at the Western Australian Amateur Championship today.
Matt Stieger wins WA Amateur (Credit: Snaperture Sports)
Last month, Stieger won the Australian Amateur Championship with a 1-up victory at Victoria Golf Club over new Zealander, Ben Campbell.
A few weeks earlier, he had won the Tasmanian Amateur Open and could have added to his impressive list earlier at the Riversdale Cup, only to be pipped at the third play-off hole by Nathan Holman.
Today’s final at the Melville Glades Golf Club in Perth was a closely contested encounter as both Stieger and Chow exchanged the lead during their 36-hole final.
Chow was the first to strike on the 4th to move to 1-up, however Stieger was quick to rebound winning the 5th to bring the final all square where it remained until Stieger won the 11th with a par.
“I was a little slow out of the opening blocks,” said Stieger.
“It was a frustrating, as I was striking the ball well yet was not scoring. I was able to remain in there and not let the match slip and that was important as I was up against strong competition, both against Ray and all his supporters.”
“I kind of felt that I was the only one out there today going for me.”
After the opening nine holes, Chow had advanced to a 1-up lead then moved to 2-up through the 19th hole before Stieger was able to get a hole back.
Chow was then won successive holes through the 34th and 35th hole to force the final into extra holes.
“After the morning 18 holes I was in the change room having lunch and received a text message about a good friend back in Narrabri who’d passed away just this morning with a brain tumour, Cameron Foreham.”
“I was devastated, yet it made me more determined to win the event for my mate as we’d played together back home growing up.”
In true Aussie style Stieger went on to win the final and dedicated his victory to his mate Cameron.
“Sure I was emotional,” said Stieger.
“I wanted to dedicate the win to a close friend and that means something for me. You don’t forget your mates when you are growing up and I’m privileged to continue to keep going when he can’t and that’s something you need to appreciate.”
With the Mandurah Eastern Amateur, the South Australian Amateur Classic and the Keperra Bowl completing the remainder of the Australian season, Stieger is hungry to collect another National Selection event title before heading to the UK & US to compete in their top amateur events this summer.
“I’m swinging it the best that I’ve done now for a while,” says Stieger.
“I’m a fell player, yet my coach John [Serhan] back at St Michael’s Golf Club in Sydney is more a technical coach and the combination is working well. I’d love to win again in Australia before heading to the UK and the US.”
The 2011 US campaign will be Stieger’s second, after winning last year at the 2010 Pacific North West Amateur Stroke in British Columbia.
“The last few months has shown that I can close out a tournament effectively,” says Stieger.
Any demons following the play-off loss after the Riversdale Cup were certainly flushed away with today’s victory.
“I was pleased with how aggressively I was able to close out this title,” said Stieger.
“I hit a rescue wood off the tee and then nailed a lob wedge close into the green. That applied the pressure and resulted in the win.”
Stieger has made his mark on both the world amateur circuit with strong performances both locally and internationally.
It has only been just over 18 months since he moved from Bellata Golf Club near Narrabri to the city to focus on his game, play the bigger events and tour the world.
“I owe so much to my coach John Serhan as he’s been, and continues to be, inspirational for me,” says Stieger.
“It’s being a great few months and hopefully there’s more to come. I’d love to win another event either at Mandurah, the SA Classic or Keperra before heading to the UK and the US.”
Should Stieger’s current form be any indication, then another victory is just over the horizon.