Conor Purcell (Golf Australia photo)
MELBOURNE, Australia (Jan. 20, 2019) – There were 17 combined birdies in the 36-hole championship match of the Australian Amateur, but ultimately the title fell in Irishman Conor Purcell’s favor.
It was far from an easy romp to victory, however. Australia’s Nathan Barbieri fought back from being 4 down after 10 holes to force an extra hole.
Barbieri was 2 down as he walked to the 35th hole, but hit it close for birdie to stay alive. Purcell then bogeyed the final hole of the match and the two went back to the first hole for a third time.
Barbieri, however, tugged his approach left there and his subsequent bump shot down the hill went long. When Purcell left himself with a tap-in for par, which Barbieri conceded. Barbieri then lost his putt narrowly right to ultimately lose the title as well.
Purcell became the first Irishman to win this event in its 125-year history.
“The last few holes were a bit edgy, but to cap it off on the playoff hole was nice,” said Purcell, who had his brother Gary on the bag for the final and later had his trophy presentation played live via Facetime to his parents in Dublin.
“Credit to Nathan, he made a couple of great shots when he needed to today and it was pretty tense that last few minutes.
“Funnily enough I was more nervous on the first tee this morning than I was going down the playoff hole – I felt quite comfortable still because I’d been playing well all week.”
Barbieri, a member at Monash Country Club in Sydney and New South Wales state representative, was disappointed with the result but proud of his showing.
“He had a putt on nine (the 27th hole) to go five up on me and I just fought … as hard as I could. I couldn’t give any more,” an emotional Barbieri said.
“Fortunately I made a birdie on 17 and 18 (35 and 36) was all mine. Then (in the playoff) I hit a good tee shot but just pulled my second and not in the best place.
ABOUT THE Australian Men's Amateur
The Australian Men's and Women's
Championships are Australia's oldest
Golf Championships, with both having
played since 1894. Long held as a match play event,
in 2021 the format changed to 72 holes
of stroke play.
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