MELBOURNE, Australia (Jan. 11, 2013) -- A Queensland teenager has come from six shots down overnight to win the 2013 Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship which concluded at Royal Melbourne Golf Club today. 17 year old Viraat Badhwar is the youngest golfer to triumph in the 15 years of this event. Like the rest of the field, he had to contend with gusty northerly winds and temperatures in the high 30’s today. Viraat says coping with Melbourne’s changeable weather over the four days is, for him, part of the fun of the sport. The quietly spoken champ considers his mental game to be his strength and that was evident today. While others felt the pressure of a big final, he produced six birdies and a round of 70 to take the title by two shots.
Born in India, Viraat’s parents moved to Australia six years ago, to further their son’s golfing career. He has just finished high school in Queensland and later this year heads to Stanford University in California. Then college becomes his priority: there’ll be no consideration of a professional golf career just yet! It was his first time in the Australian Master of the Amateurs and his first time at Royal Melbourne, and he thoroughly enjoyed both describing the experience as very special. He’s hoping to be back next year to defend his title.
From ecstasy for the winner, to what must be agony for Australia’s highest ranked amateur golfer, Brady Watt. He has led this tournament from day one and held a commanding lead going into the final round. But big problems on the 391 metre par four 6th (4-over) and the 346-metre par four 8th (3-over) were blemishes that cost him the title.
Most scores suffered in today’s trying conditions: South Australian Chris Brown with an impressive 67, the only player to go around under 70. Melbournian Geoff Drakeford, who had sub par scores in his first three rounds, went three over today to finish third, one shot ahead of last year’s champion Nathan Holman.
The best finish among the twenty highly ranked internationals who contested this year’s event came from Scot Ewan Scott who finished fifth, one shot clear of England’s Garrick Porteous and Patrick Rodgers of the United States.
Tournament Director Peter Mann said 2013 had seen the strongest field to ever contest this event.
”54 top players from 12 different countries with an average handicap of plus 3 and playing Royal Melbourne, one of the best golf courses in the world …this is a unique event for Australia and a much admired event in world amateur golf”, he said.
Viraat Badhwar will be presented with the winner’s green jacket during a gala dinner at the RACV Club in Melbourne tonight. He will join a long list of champions including Jason Day, Brendan Jones, Ben Meyer, Ashley Hall, Mark Anderson, Andrew Tampion, Toby Wilcox and Jordan Sherratt who have all won the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship.