You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Jasper Stubbs spoiled the party somewhat but it was hard to be too grumpy about that yesterday.
Stubbs, a talented 20-year-old from Melbourne, swept to victory in the New Zealand Amateur men’s final at the Otago Golf Club.
He capped a super week at the Balmacewen course with a 6 and 5 win over Mitchell Kale (Tauranga), who had been eager to go one better than the 2019 final, when Kale was pipped by Sam Jones.
Stubbs won four of the first five holes to take command of the final, and after finishing the first 18 holes at 5-up, he played consistent golf to seal the title on the 31st hole.
“There were a couple of times when Mitch was playing some pretty good golf and things could have got a little bit tricky,” Stubbs said last night.
“But I think I responded to the pressure pretty well, and managed my golf quite well.”
Stubbs’ shot of the day was a chip-in for par on the 15th hole of the final.
He had played a “very, very poor” tee shot, and getting out of it with a half was a confidence boost.
The Amateur — two days of strokeplay qualifying followed by three days of matchplay — was held almost entirely in fine weather but the skies darkened and some rain came for the latter stages of the final yesterday.
Stubbs said it did not cause too many problems.
“It was definitely a lot tougher than the rest of the week.
“But we get these conditions in Melbourne a lot, so having to change things up in the middle of the day is nothing new for me.”
It was a first visit to New Zealand for Stubbs.
He decided to come to Dunedin as it was not much different from travelling to other Australian cities, and he was confident he could do well, even in foreign conditions.
“It was a bit of a no-brainer to come over and compete in such a prestigious event.
“There was always part of me that wanted to win, but a little bit of doubt that said, just play as well as you can.
“Once I started the week and I was playing pretty good, it definitely dawned on me that I was here to win this thing and not just be another name in the field.”
Stubbs said Balmacewen was as good as any course he had played in Australia.
He hopes to qualify for some of the major Australian tournaments this summer then work towards his professional card next year.
Stubbs follows in the footsteps of Louis Dobbelaar, another Australian who won the New Zealand Amateur in 2016.
He had to get past two local favourites to reach the final, beating the Otago Golf Club pair of Tom Lee (2-up) and co-medallist William McLauchlan (3 and 2) in the quarterfinal and semifinal respectively on Saturday.
That was after beating Duncan Croudis in the opening round and Sebastian Kyle in the second round.
Kale also played spoiler to southern golfers on Saturday.
He beat Scott Hellier (Gore) 2 and 1 in the quarterfinals, and defeated Brandon Hodgson (Otago) 3 and 2 in the semifinals.
An Otago Golf Club winner would have been a magnificent way to announce the club’s 150th celebrations, but reaching the final four was a super effort by Hodgson and McLauchlan.