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Victorian Amateur finalists determined
Dylan Perry will face John Lyras in the championship match <br>(Golf Australia Photo)
Dylan Perry will face John Lyras in the championship match
(Golf Australia Photo)
VICTORIA, Australia (December 13, 2016) -- Royal Melbourne’s Alizza Hetherington will meet Queensland’s Rebecca Kay, whilst New South Wales duo Dylan Perry and John Lyras will face off in the respective Women’s and Men’s Victorian Amateur finals to be played at Woodlands Golf Club on Wednesday over 36-holes.

In warm, overcast but extremely windy conditions for most of the day on the superbly presented Woodlands layout, challenging conditions were presented to players for the quarterfinal and semifinal matches of Victorian golf’s most prestigious amateur titles.

After accounting for number one seed and newly crowned men’s Port Phillip champion David Micheluzzi in their morning quarterfinal match 1 up, current Queensland Amateur Champion Perry was stretched again to the 18th hole in the afternoon semifinal match against current U.S. Junior Champion Min Woo Lee. The tense semifinal match was back and forth throughout the afternoon, with Australia’s No. 4 ranked Perry holding his nerve down the 18th to emerge victorious by a margin of 2 up.

Qualifying in 26th position, St Michael’s John Lyras has been the quiet achiever of this year’s men’s championship. Playing steady and consistent golf throughout the event, Lyras continued his golden run, with a hard-fought win at the 19th hole over Darcy Brereton (Royal Melbourne) in the quarterfinals followed by an impressive 3&1 win over Frazer Droop (Yarrawonga). Lyras held a comfortable advantage throughout most of the semifinal match with Droop, before a late comeback by the recent Dunes Medal winner took the match to the 17th. Lyras held his nerve to stave off a gallant Droop and book a place in this year’s men’s final.

The 2016 Victorian Amateur women’s final puts Australia’s No. 5 and No. 15 ranked amateurs, Alizza Hetherington (Royal Melbourne) and Queensland’s Rebecca Kay (Coolangatta-Tweed) in an enthralling showdown. The two talented young stars had comfortable victories at the quarterfinal stage, but encountered much tighter matches at the semifinal stage.

Hetherington was out of the blocks fast against fellow Victorian Olivia Kline in their quarterfinal battle, with Hetherington seizing the early advantage over the opening nine holes. Hetherington’s strong start to the match proved too big a margin for Kline to overcome, with the match decided 5&4 setting up a showdown between Hetherington and top-seed Elizabeth Elmassian.

The Hetherington/Elmassian match up was a showdown between two of the strong performers of the opening rounds and the match did not disappoint. Elmassian held a slight advantage in the early stages, before a strong run of holes over the back end of the front nine by Hetherington saw the match all-square at the turn.

The match remained tight throughout the back nine and was destined to be decided over the final few holes. Elmassian held a 1 up advantage heading down the par-5 18th but found trouble over the back of the green after her second shot. Hetherington played the hole superbly, with nerves of steel she drained a 10-foot birdie putt to take the match to extra holes.

With both players having played a combined twelve rounds the previous four days, the extra holes came down to a battle of attrition, particularly given today’s match was played during hot conditions. Holes, 19, 20 and 21 were halved, before the recent Victorian Junior Girls champion sealed a fantastic victory with a win at the 22nd hole, putting an end to Elmassian’s quest for the stroke play qualifying and Women’s Victorian Amateur dual titles.

Equally, Kay encountered a dog fight in the form of fellow Queensland state team representative Karis Davidson. The match between the two also reached the turn at all-square, before Kay put the foot on the gas over the opening holes of the back nine to gain a 2 up advantage. Davidson would not lie down and fought hard to keep her hopes alive of a maiden appearance in a Women’s Victorian Amateur championship match. In the end, Kay drew on her big match experience, keeping Davidson at bay for a 2&1 win to book a meeting with Hetherington to decide this year’s Women’s champion.

The stage is now set for two thrilling 36-hole finals, with both Perry and Hetherington looking to add a second state amateur title to their trophy cabinets this year. Hetherington is looking to capture an historic Victorian Junior Girls and Women’s Amateur double. Both Kay and Lyras have been two of the form players over the entirety of the match play rounds and will head into tomorrow’s finals full of confidence.

The 2016 Men’s and Women’s Victorian Amateur Championship finals will commence locally at 8:00 a.m. (Women) and 8:10 a.m. (Men) on Wednesday 14 December at Woodlands. The afternoon rounds are scheduled from 12:30 p.m.

Editors Note: Story by Golf Victoria

View results for Victorian Amateur Championship

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