CHARLIE SMAIL VYING FOR HIS SECOND NEW ZEALAND AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

24/10/2020

Charlie Smail is vying for his second New Zealand Amateur Championship in three years in tomorrow’s 36-hole championship final at Poverty Bay Golf Club.

After defeating Kerry Mountcastle in a replay of the 2018 New Zealand Amateur final in the quarters this morning (3&2), Smail went extra holes with Mako Thompson in the semi final this afternoon to decide who would play in tomorrow’s big dance.

Smail hit two quality golf shots into the par 5 first and only needed two putts to secure his birdie which was good enough to book his place in his second final.

He says he’s relieved to be in the final once again.

“This feel pretty good. It was pretty tight there on the 17th in regular play, I was about to take my hat off and congratulate Mako for getting through but managed to hole a nice putt on 18 for a birdie to extend the match.

“It’s just really great to be playing in the final again,” he says.

It was a match of twists and turns as Smail went 2up after his opening two holes this afternoon. Thompson then hit back on the following two holes to even proceedings up after their opening for holes.

They continued to trade blows and made the turn at all square.

The back nine was very similar to the front as they continued trading holes with each other until Thompson moved himself a hole ahead with two holes to play.

Thompson uncharacteristically three-putted on the 17th to keep the match alive and Smail capitalized.

He says he’s excited at the opportunity of winning his second New Zealand Amateur Championship.

“That’s be pretty cool. I don’t think many people will have done that, I’m not too sure. It’d be great to win the title again and carry one the form I’ve had so far this week,” Smail says.

The last person to win two titles is Daniel Hillier in 2015 and 2017.

The person standing in his way is one of the most in-form players in the country right now, James Hydes.

Hydes defeated Canterbury’s Zach May this morning on the 19th to book his place in the semi final against former professional Tyler Hodge.

The 21-year-old was ahead right from the start winning four of his opening six holes to take a commanding lead.

However, Hodge wouldn’t go down without a fight.

He won the eighth hole and the difference was three going through nine. Hydes then lost the 12th and the 15th holes and the difference was just one with three holes to play.

The killer blow came at the 16th when Hydes holed a bomb to move 2up with two holes to play. A par on the 17th was good enough to setup a final showdown with Smail.

Hydes says he can’t wait for the challenge.

“It feels so awesome. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions all day but I’m so glad to be through to the final tomorrow,” he says.

Hydes says he’s not getting ahead of himself, but it would be a dream come true should things swing his way tomorrow.

“It would mean everything. This tournament is a special one and is one I’ve watched for many years. I’ve wanted to win it for a while now and it’d mean a lot to be able to do that.

“I’ve been playing some of the best golf I’ve played over these last few weeks. In a funny way I was really happy I felt the nerves I did in my semi final match against Zach this morning, I feel like there was a lot of learning for me and I carried on the form into this afternoon,” says Hydes.

The 36-hole championship final gets underway tomorrow morning from 8.15.

 

    OOM LEADERBOARD

    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Hydes, James 156.07
    2 Kobori, Kazuma 123.61
    3 Thompson, Mako 110.28
    4 Jones, Samuel 93.31
    5 Zheng, Jimmy 86.98
    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Chung, Darae 218.92
    2 Kobori, Momoka 159.50
    3 Xu, Fiona 128.24
    4 Son, Yeonsoo 96.58
    5 Lu, Vivian 91.25