Australia’s Jasper Stubbs and New Zealand's Jessica Green captured the men's and women's titles of the New Zealand Amateur Championship Sunday at Otago Golf Club in Dunedin.
Stubbs, the 483rd amateur in the world, beat two-time finalist Mitchell Kale, 6 and 5, to win his first national amateur title and his first overseas while Green earned a 3 up win over countrywoman Vivian Lu.
Stubbs turns in dominating performance
Stubbs was ahead right from the opening hole, making a birdie to settle his nerves. He won the next with a par and went 4up early after another birdie at the fourth and a par at the fifth. Kale managed to claw a couple back before the turn, and they went into the final nine holes of the morning round with a two-hole difference.
Stubbs kept his foot on the gas, making birdie at ten and pars at 11 and 18 to stretch his lead to five going into the afternoon.
After a short break, Stubbs picked up right where he left off. He lost the 21st to a Kale birdie but got that shot back at the 23rd after another birdie to restore his 5up lead. The pair traded blows all the way to the 31st, where Stubbs put the nail in the coffin by draining a 30-foot slider from across the green to put the pressure on Kale, who needed to hole a downhill slider of his own from eight feet to keep the match alive.
The putt sat on the lip, meaning Stubbs had captured the first big title of his amateur career, a feat he is proud of.
“It’s pretty amazing. The weather didn’t hold up for us, but I was glad my game was able to for the 31 holes that we played.
“This is my first big amateur win, my first International win, to be able to take the trophy home this week means a lot.”
Stubbs played solidly all week, qualifying third after the stroke play rounds.
He beat all the locals on his way to the final, beating local Duncan Croudis in the opening round, Sebastian Kyle in round two, Tom Lee in the quarterfinals, and William McLauchlan in the semis.
Stubbs said his golf went from strength to strength all week, culminating in a great performance on one of the biggest days in his young career.
“I played really well. I made a few bad swings here and there, but for the most part, I was keeping myself in it and making a lot of pars. In the end, that was all I had to do.
“Mitch also played great, hats off to him for an amazing week and he gave me a tough run for a lot of day. I’m just super stoked to get this one across the line.”
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Green goes wire-to-wire to win her maiden national title
Green won her first national title in style, holing her third on the 34th from 30 meters right of the 16th for birdie to seal the deal against New Zealand representative Vivian Lu.
Green played some unbelievable golf prior to that and was never down in her match.
She birdied the first to go 1up immediately and would never look back. Every time Lu struck, Green would answer. After making the turn 1up, they went blow for blow on the back nine until they stood on the 16th, where Green holed her second to make the difference two. The Bay of Plenty golfer backed it up with a birdie at 17 to make the margin three holes, and after a half at 18, Green held a 3up lead with 18-holes to play.
She got the speed wobbles in her opening nine of the afternoon and Lu reduced the deficit to one with nine to play.
However, she kept her composure, winning the 28th and 29th to get to 3up once again. After losing the 32nd with a double, lightning struck twice on the 16th where she holed her third after finding trouble off the tee for birdie to close out the match.
She says it was an incredible way to get the job done.
“I’m just letting it sink in. What a way to do it; it feels great.
“The 16th has been good to me this week. I was hoping to finish the match there, but after my tee shot I wasn’t in a great position. I was still confident that I could get it done though.
“Holing that shot wasn’t even on my mind. It was a really nice surprise and a great way to win the match. I’ll remember this for a long time.”
Green had 2017 winner Silvia Brunotti caddying for her from the quarterfinals, and says that was a massive help having someone who has experienced the same nerves walking her through each shot.
“In all honesty, she read all of my putts out there today. All I had to do was follow her advice and that seemed to work out well.”
“This is my first national title. It’s a pretty good one to win for my first and I’m happy that I had my good friend and my mum here to watch me do it.”