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Dylan Perry, Alizza Hetherington win Victoria Amateur titles
Dylan Perry (L) and Alizza Hetherington (R) after their <br>Victorian Amateur triumphs <br>(Golf Victoria Photo)
Dylan Perry (L) and Alizza Hetherington (R) after their
Victorian Amateur triumphs
(Golf Victoria Photo)

VICTORIA, Australia (December 14, 2016) -- Alizza Hetherington from Royal Melbourne and The Vintage’s Dylan Perry have won the respective 2016 Women’s and Men’s Victorian Amateur Championships after the 36- hole finals were both uniquely decided in sudden-death at the Woodlands Golf Club.

Under overcast skies but with a brisk south- westerly breeze making scoring challenging on the superbly presented Woodlands layout, 16-year-old Hetherington defeated Queensland teenager Rebecca Kay at the 37th in a quality display of ball striking, not to mention mental strength from both players across the duration of an enthralling day. Similarly in the men’s final, the talented 21-year-old Perry overcame slow starts in both rounds to outlast John Lyras from the St. Michaels Golf Club in Sydney at the 41st.

The morning eighteen of the women’s final saw Hetherington seemingly take an unassailable lead in the 36-hole contest. Steady par golf over the opening nine saw the former Northern Territorian get to a two-hole lead which she extended over the back-nine. A birdie four at the 10th saw the lead increase to three-holes before Kay fought back to take the 12th after Hetherington found sand off the tee. Some indifferent play by Kay at the 14th and 15th saw the margin slip to four-holes before a further birdie at the par-5 18th let the current Victorian Junior Girls Champion go to lunch with a five-hole lead.

After a birdie at the fourth, Hetherington had increased her lead to six-holes and an early finish seemed likely. However, Kay showed wonderful resilience to stage a remarkable fightback. Indifferent play from Hetherington saw the Queensland teen win the 3rd and 4th before a birdie at the 6th cut the deficit to three-holes.

Further concessions by Hetherington at the 7th and the 9th and a Kay birdie at the par-5 10th leveled the playing field. A four at the short 11th was then enough for Kay to take a 1 up lead. In the face of losing such a large lead, Hetherington steadied and after halving the 12th with a par, squared the match with a birdie at the par-4 13th. Kay then won the 14th with a par before Hetherington took the difficult par-5 15th playing back into the stiffening wind with the regulation figure.

The 16th was halved in four's as the talented young players had clearly risen to the occasion and were providing the growing gallery with a match to remember. Hetherington then seemed to have victory back in her grasp after holing a long downhill birdie putt at the 17th to regain the lead for the first time since the 9th. With the 18th also playing into the wind, a rock- solid par to Kay after Hetherington came up short of the green with her approach took the match back to square one and both players headed up to the par-4 1st again for a sudden death decider.

And what a deciding hole it turned out to be. After both players found the fairway from the tee, Kay was first to play and put her approach around seven meters from the hole. Having well and truly regrouped from losing a large lead, Hetherington then played the key shot with her 52-degree wedge, getting the approach inside Kay’s to two meters from the hole. After Kay’s birdie putt slid by, Hetherington stepped up and holed her putt for birdie and the championship. Having moved to Melbourne from Darwin a little over two years ago, Hetherington now holds the rare achievement of being both the current Victorian Women’s Amateur Champion as well as the Victorian Junior Girls Champion sharing this feat with some of the greats of Victorian women’s golf including Jane Lock, Louise Briers and tied youngest at 16 years of age with Misun Cho.

The men’s final saw Australia’s No. 2 ranked male player in Dylan Perry get off to a slow start against fellow New South Welshman John Lyras. After the pair halved the opening hole in birdies, Lyras birdied again at the par-5 2nd to gain a brief advantage before a dropped shot at the tricky 3rd saw scores level. A further Lyras birdie at the short par-4 4th saw him lead again before Perry responded with a birdie at the 6th to square proceedings.

Some indifferent play followed from both players including Perry taking a double-bogey at the difficult long par-3 8th and a triple-bogey at the 9th to see Lyras hold a one-hole advantage after the opening nine. Perry leveled the final again after winning the 379-meter 14th with a par before gaining a mini-break in winning the 15th and 16th following Lyras struggling on both to get to a two-hole lead. Pars to both players over the closing holes saw Perry, who won this year’s Queensland Men’s Amateur title, maintain that advantage after the morning eighteen.

Solid ball striking, steady putting and par golf was the order of the afternoon as Lyras reduced Perry’s advantage to just one-hole heading into the final nine. When the New South Wales State player (Perry) bogeyed the 10th, the final was level and after Lyras took the 12th and 13th with pars to go to 2 up, Perry undoubtedly seemed in trouble. Like all good players when faced with adversity, he responded with the only birdie of the afternoon at the 379-meter par-4 14th and then squared the contest with a five back into the breeze at the 15th.

Despite both players continuing with the impressive ball striking, neither could force the decisive sub-par blow on the greens in the swirling south-easterly wind. After both parred the 18th, Perry and Lyras also ventured into sudden death. As the tension continued to rise, neither player yielded with the first four sudden death holes all halved with pars.

The deciding moment in the longest men’s final of recent memory then came at the 168-meter par-3 5th and 41st hole of the match. Playing first, Perry played yet another solid gripped down six-iron to around ten meters from the hole before Lyras just missed the green to the left with his seven-iron. A sound sand recovery came out to just over two-meters before Perry lagged down to a conceded par. Faced with the par saver to keep the final alive, Lyras missed for Perry to became the proud winner of the 2016 Men’s Victorian Amateur Championship.

The Victorian Men’s & Women’s Amateur Championships are the most prestigious amateur events on the Golf Victoria’s calendar. First played in 1894 (Women) and 1899 (Men), both Championships are well over a century old.

The Men’s event has now produced 69 separate winners including players such as Ivo Whitton, Harry Williams, five-time British Open Champion Peter Thomson; Australia’s first British Amateur Champion Doug Bachli; founder of the Cobra Golf Company Tom Crow and noted professionals Mike Clayton, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley and Marcus Fraser.

The women’s event boast winners such as Mona MacLeod, Susie and Shirley Tolhurst, Burtta Cheney, Margaret Masters, Sandra McCaw, Lindy Goggin, Jane Lock, Louise Briers, Jane Crafter, Stacey Keating and more recently Su-Hyun Oh.

-Editors Note: Story by Golf Victoria

ABOUT THE Victorian Amateur

The low 32 finishers in the Port Phillip Amateur qualify for elimination match play in the Victorian Amateur.

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