In front of strong home support, Grange Golf Club member Anthony Murdaca (SA) fell agonisingly short of a place in the Australian Amateur Championship final when a pulled second shot on the 18th hole during the semi final left him in the trees and he lost out to New Zealander Tae Koh who found the green.
In a see-saw battle, Murdaca fought back to square the match on the 17th hole before the errant shot on the final hole cost him a chance of victory.
For Koh, from Manukau Golf Club near Auckland, a victory on Sunday would make him the first New Zealander to win the Australian Men’s Amateur Championship since 2005 U.S Open champion Michael Campbell in 1992.
To do that, Koh will need to beat Western Australian Curtis Luck who has been in great recent form following his win at the Boys’ Victorian Junior Masters earlier in the month.
Luck defeated 2013 Victorian Amateur finalist Todd Sinnott this afternoon and has claimed an impressive list of scalps on his way to the final including last year’s Australian Amateur Finalist Geoff Drakeford (VIC).
Saturday afternoon’s semi final against Sinnott went down to the wire, with Luck holding a two hole advantage through 14 holes before Sinnott won back-to-back holes on 15 and 16 to square the ledger.
On the final hole, Luck held his nerve while Sinnott found trouble in the right rough and had to chip back out onto the fairway. Adding to the drama, Luck’s approach hit the flag stick and rolled into the bunker but a great recovery left him with a 3 foot putt for par while Sinnott failed to make his 20 footer to force the match into extra holes.
In the Women’s Championship defending champion and World Number 5 Minjee Lee (WA) made her third consecutive Australian Amateur final with a 2&1 victory over tenacious Spaniard Luna Sobron in the semi final this afternoon.
Lee will play 15 year-old Queenslander Karis Davidson who is playing in the Australian Amateur for the first time. If Lee wins, she will become the first woman since Michelle Ellis in 1997/98 to win back-to-back Australian Amateur Championships.
With 2363 places separating Lee and Davidson in the World Amateur Rankings, Lee will go into the final as the overwhelming favourite.
Davidson, who was born in Scotland and moved to Australia five years ago, defeated South Australian Jenny Lee on the 20th hole of her semi final this afternoon. Now based at Sanctuary Cove, Davidson posted two eagles on her front nine and holed out for birdie with a pitch into the 16th hole en route to victory in a hard fought contest.
Davidson, who has played steady golf all week, came to Adelaide to stay with a family member and entered the Australian Amateur Championship with the hope of reaching the top 32. She is ranked 16th on the Australian Girls’ Amateur Rankings.
Men’s winner Tae Koh 6&5
Women’s winner: Minjee Lee 6&5
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