TERREY HILLS, New South Wales (February 2, 2017) -- It will be an all-England contest for the 2017 NSW Amateur Championship after world No. 10 Scott Gregory and his teammate Marco Penge qualified for Friday's 36-hole final at Terrey Hills Golf and Country Club.
The English pair having been roommates for the last four weeks, and tomorrow’s final will be a battle between the older, more experienced Gregory and the younger Penge. There will be pleasantries over a nice steak meal tonight, but tomorrow it will be battle lines drawn.
“We’ll be eating together tonight, and beating each other tomorrow,” Gregory laughed.
The 22-year old Gregory progressed through to the final after a dominant performance against Canberra’s Joshua Armstrong in the afternoon semifinal, winning easily 6&5. Gregory had the ACT junior well behind early in the match, being 5 up after seven holes.
“After this morning’s late finish, I tried to get off to a quick start, and I was able to do it,” he said.
The far more experienced Gregory was never really going to get to a position where Armstrong could make a comeback, and the experience of his 2016 British Amateur triumph was clearly evident.
“It can be tough when you’re that many up; You don’t let him have a run at you, if you lose a couple of holes they feel like they can get you back.”
After Armstrong had a win on the 8th hole to claw on3 back, Gregory stamped his authority back on the contest with a match-defining birdie on the 9th hole to go into the back nine with a commanding five-hole lead.
“He gave me an opportunity on nine, and I took it. It was a big moment in the match; mentally it gave me a little bit.”
Gregory is relishing get the opportunity to meet his teammate in tomorrow's final. He believes the key will be sticking to his own game.
“It will be good fun to have a battle tomorrow, and get the win here,” he smiled.
“I played Marco in the Spanish Amateur last year and won 6&5. Marco is going to be 20 yards in front, so I know don’t try and keep up with him, just keep it straight and get the putter warmed up.”
Penge booked his ticket into tomorrow's final after a 3&2 win over 16-year-old Korean Dongmin Kim.
The 20-year-old Englishman has fought through all of his matchplay rounds to get to the tomorrows final.
“It’s been a battle every day. I’ve just been trying to dig in and get job done,” Penge said.
The key to Penge’s afternoon match, like most of his others in the tournament, has been his ability to grab birdies when needed at critical times on the back nine.
“I’ve been playing the 11th to the 16th well, I made three birdies there this morning, and two this afternoon."
Like his teammate Gregory, Penge is looking forward to tomorrow's final. Surprisingly, it will be his first match play final. And he’s thrilled to be playing against one of his friends.
“It is my first final ever, I’ve been dreaming about it, and I can’t wait to play one of my good mates.”
Penge sees the match as a challenge against his more experienced teammate, but one he’s ready to face.
“I know I will have to make a lot of birdies if I’m going to win, he’s number six in the world. I’ll try and keep everything the same, focus on my own game and try and play steady golf.
It’s our last day here, It’s going be a good one,” he smiled.
The final match will be conducted over 36-holes and begin at 7:30 a.m. local time.
-Editors Note: Article is by Dave Tease of Golf New South Wales