Australia’s Daniel Nisbet made a significant move up the World Amateur Golf Ranking this week thanks to a breakthrough victory in the prestigious Lake Macquarie International Amateur Championship at the Belmont Golf Club in Newcastle, New South Wales.
It proved third time lucky for the Queensland golfer. Nisbet entered the Lake Macquarie fresh from runner-up finishes in the Australian Amateur Championship and Australian Master of the Amateurs in the last two weeks. After 54 holes, it looked like he was set to miss out again.
Germany’s Marcel Schneider, the Australian Amateur champion, looked like doubling his win tally Down Under when he took the 54-hole lead. However, the windy conditions of the final round put paid to Schneider’s chances of two in a row. He returned a six-over-par 78 to finish fifth.
Nisbet managed a highly commendable one-under-par 71 in the final round to finish three shots ahead of second place Cameron Smith. Smith returned a final round 69 to move from ninth at the start of the final round.
Rounds of 65, 68 and 69 preceded Nisbet’s closing 71 for a four-round total of 273, 15-under-par. Nisbet moves 14 spots on this week’s WAGR table to 34th. Smith moves four spots to 17th.
England’s Toby Tree won the Gauteng North Open in South Africa. Tree, from Worthing Golf Club in Sussex, is a member of the England Boys’ Squad. Tree is a former winner of the 2010 McGregor Trophy, the England Under-16 Championship. Big things have long been expected of the talented teenager. This victory confirms the view among many in the amateur game that he is one with huge potential.
It will be interesting to watch how Tree climbs the WAGR table this year. His South African triumph moves him 234 spots to world number 354.
Lydia Ko’s name has long been known in the amateur ranks, but now the entire world of golf knows all about the 14-year-old schoolgirl from Auckland.
Ko made history last year by becoming the first recipient of the Mark H. McCormack Medal as leading amateur golfer of 2011. Now her name is more widely known after becoming the youngest winner of a professional event. Ko won the New South Wales Open by four shots over Welsh professional Becky Morgan.
The precocious teenager has led the World Amateur Golfer Ranking for 40 weeks and looks set to continue that run into 2012.
While Ko was impressing in the professional ranks, many of Europe’s elite amateurs were fighting it out in the 82nd Portuguese International Ladies Amateur at Montado Golf Resort, Setubal, near Lisbon.
The contest looked a foregone conclusion after 54 holes when Germany’s Roberta Roeller took an eight-shot lead into the final round. However, defending champion Leona Maguire took a run at Roeller. The Northern Irish amateur reduced the deficit to two after nine holes. She then birdied the 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th holes on the back nine to stand just one shot in arrears on the 18th tee.
Maguire’s title defence came to an end when she missed the final green and failed to get up and down for par. Roeller, meanwhile, found the green and holed a long putt to win by three shots.
Rounds of 66, 74, 70 and 73 gave the German amateur a four round total of 283, five-under-par. France’s Perrine Delacour finished third, seven shots behind Roeller. Leona’s twin sister Lisa finished joint fourth.
Roeller moves 139 places on this week’s ranking to 187th. Leona Maguire is the world number seven. Sister Lisa moves two places to 24th, while Delacour improves five spots to 38th.