Louis Dobbelaar became the first Australian to win the Dogwood Invitational, shooting 18-under 270 to beat Nicolas Cassidy and Garrett Rank by two strokes on Saturday at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta.
Dobbelaar had not competed in a U.S. tournament since the 2019 Junior Players Championship, but he has enjoyed a run of success in his homeland throughout the pandemic. The 19-year-old started last week ranked No. 91 in the world, the best of his amateur career, on the strength of winning the Australian Amateur earlier this year. Prior to that, Dobbelaar was best known for capturing the New Zealand Amateur as a 15-year-old back in 2016.
At the Dogwood, Dobbelaar put on a dominant performance through three rounds of the 72-hole event. His bogey-free 64 in the second round featured eight birdies and he totaled 21 birdies in his first 44 holes.
The path to victory was arduous. The final day required a marathon of golf where the final group started at 8:30 a.m. to complete the rain-delayed third round. Dobbelaar reached 20-under for the tournament when he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 13 but a double bogey at No. 15 cut his lead to five strokes heading into the last round.
Dobbelaar went out in 2-under 34 and avoided drama down the stretch, but only after another hour-long delay when the last group had made the turn. Bogeys on Nos. 16 and 18 left him two strokes clear. Cassidy, a University of Georgia player, shot 10-under 62 in the last round and Rank, the Canadian mid-amateur, came in with a 4-under 68 to share second with him.
Oklahoma State freshman Maddison Hinson-Tolchard and mid-amateur Tara Joy-Connelly each won their respective divisions at the Women’s Southern Amateur on Thursday at The Falls of the Palm Beaches in Lake Worth, Florida.
Hinson-Tolchard, an Australian, captured the amateur division by beating Florida State’s Taylor Roberts, 5 and 4. She earned the No. 4 seed through stroke-play qualifying and kept the momentum going, finishing most of her matches before reaching the 17th hole.
Joy-Connelly got through as the top seed and never looked back in the mid-amateur division. The championship match against Kim Keyer-Scott was her toughest test, coming down to the 18th hole where Joy-Connelly won, 1 up.
Louise Duncan became the first Scot to claim the title for 24 years when she beat Icelandic teenager Jóhanna Lea Lúðvíksdóttir, 9 and 8, in the final of the 118th Women’s Amateur Championship at Kilmarnock (Barassie) in Troon, Scotland.
Lúðvíksdóttir had come from three down with five holes to play in her semifinal against another Scot, Shannon McWilliam, but she was no match for Stirling University student Duncan, who outhit her off the tee and handled the vagaries of the links breeze much better than her more inexperienced opponent.
Duncan, who needed 19 holes to beat fellow Scottish international Hannah Darling in their gripping semifinal, raced into a five-hole lead at lunch. She picked right up after the break, eagling from the bunker on the 19th hole and closed out the most lopsided final in the championship’s history with a par on the 28th hole.
She is the first Scot to lift the trophy since Alison Rose beat Mhairi McKay at Cruden Bay in 1977 and her success earns her a spot in the AIG Women’s Open, the Amundi Evian Championship, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Open.
Staff and Wire Reports