VICTORIA, Australia (January 22, 2017) -- Both finals of the Australian Amateur Championship, presented by Swinging Skirts, remain in the balance at their respective halfway points.
After a scintillating opening 18 hole battle with good mate Min Woo Lee, Victorian Matias Sanchez holds a 2 up lead in the men’s 36-hole finale.
World No. 4 Hye-jin Choi leads So-mi Lee 2 up in the all-Korean women’s final.
Sanchez opened in breathtaking style, with birdies on the first three holes to race to an early 3 up lead.
But his West Australian opponent wasn’t fazed and responded with his own birdie barrage at holes nine, 10, 12 and 15 to draw square.
Remarkably, demonstrating the quality of the match, both men were 4-under-par at that point.
But bogeys on the 16th and 18th by Lee enabled the dual Royal Melbourne club champion to sneak clear at the break.
Friends So-mi Lee and Choi were all but inseparable for most of their round, almost tagging each other around the course.
It wasn’t until midway through the back nine that the heavily favored Choi took the initiative when Lee made a couple of unforced errors.
After a bit of to and fro early, Choi took a 1 up lead on the 12th and doubled that on the 15th with a quality par on Yarra Yarra’s iconic par-3.
The second rounds of both 36-hole finals will be played this afternoon at Yarra Yarra.