There is only one Kiwi woman left in the Australian Amateur Championship in Melbourne and it is not the one that everyone expected.



World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko, who finished in a share of the lead in the two round qualifying event to be the No.2 seed, was defeated 2 and 1 by in-form local Jo Charlton (18) yesterday afternoon in round three of the match play.


The 15-year-old from the Gulf Harbour Country Club was looking to become the first golfer to successfully defend her Australian Amateur title since Michelle Ellis (NSW) did so at the Glenelg Golf Club in South Australia in 1996 - 1997.


Auckland golfer Munchin Keh was defeated 3 and 2 by Hannah Green (WA) while Wellington No.1 Julianne Alvarez kept New Zealand alive at the Woodlands Golf Club by beating Japanese golfer Asuka Kashiwabara 3 and 2 to make the quarterfinals.


But the big talking point in Melbourne was the upset of the tournament favourite.


Her opponent Charlton putted superbly in the third round while Ko watched her putts slide by all day. The Aussie was 1up through 13 holes and then holed a 30 foot snaking putt on the 14thto take a 2up advantage.


Ko immediately fought her way back into the match with a birdie on the 15thhole but then lost the 16thhole to be Dormie 2 down.  


The match was over after Ko found a greenside bunker on the 17thand she was beaten 2 and 1.


It was a disappointing loss for Ko but upsets are common in match play as shown by round one where three of the top seeds were ousted.


Ko will now begin preparing for the NSW Open where she is also the defending champion after making international headlines at the event in 2012. The then 14-year-old became the youngest winner of a professional golf event (men and women).


But Kiwi golf fans will now turn their attention to Wellington golfer Alvarez who began the match play as the 19thseed and has advanced to the final eight.


The 16-year-old from the Manor Park Golf Club, who won her first national title last year at the Harewood Open on the Charles Tour, played great golf in round three to always be in control of the match.


Alvarez put the pressure on her opponent with accuracy off the tee and solid iron shots to the greens. She was 3up early and held onto her lead to win 3 and 2.


She will face South Australian Jenny Lee (27) in the quarterfinals today.


Meantime in the Men’s Championship New Zealand has two players still in contention to end a drought that has lasted over 20 years in the Australian Amateur.


Auckland golfer Sam An, who finished as fourth seed in qualifying, booked his place with a 2up win over Ryan Ruffels of Victoria.


Tasman No.1 Blair Riordan, who won at the 19thin round two, also advanced in another close battle when he beat Western Australian Michael Dennis at the 20thhole.


Manawatu golfer Tyler Hodge was defeated by 4 and 2 by local Geoff Drakeford in his third round match.


The 18-year-old An is up against Dale Brandt-RIichards (NSW) and Riordan is playing Queenslander Damien Jordan in the final eight matches.


The Kiwis are looking to become the first New Zealander to hold aloft the Australian Amateur trophy since Michael Campbell won at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club in 1992.






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