Lukas Michel birdied six of his last 11 holes Friday, including three of the final four, to capture the Australian Master of the Amateurs at Victoria Golf Club outside Melbourne.
Michel, the Australian who in 2019 became the first international winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur at age 25, started the fourth round one stroke ahead of Englishman Henry Fewell. But he struggled out of the gate with a lost ball on the opening hole. After shooting 2 over on the first five holes, Michel had relinquished the top position to Tasmania’s Ryan Thomas, who stood one ahead of Michel and Fewell.
Around the turn, Michel took control of the tournament with birdies on Nos. 8, 9 and 10. Although Thomas would make birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to momentarily grab a share of the lead, Michel quickly countered with a birdie on the par-4 15th to take a one-stroke lead that he maintained heading to the 72nd hole. Thomas could only salvage a par at the last while Michel finished in style with a birdie, ending the event at 6-under 282 for a two-stroke victory.
Michel’s countryman Konrad Ciupek birdied five of his last 11 holes to get within striking distance of the lead throughout the back nine, but ultimately settled for third place at 3 under.
“Today was a pretty good day, I played really, really nicely,” Michel said on the tournament’s Instagram page. “The weather was a lot better than the other rounds, there was much less wind. There were certainly some scores out there.”
Michel, who entered the tournament at No. 76 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, said he enjoyed competing in the U.S. Open and Masters last fall and used the experience to win one of his country’s premier amateur events.
“Being the winner of the Master of the Amateurs is incredible,” Michel said. “It’s a different green jacket than what I was vying for in November last year, but it’s great to be the men’s champion.”
In the women’s championship, Australian Lion Higo shot 2-under 286 to cruise to a six-stroke victory ahead of countrywoman Stephanie Bunque. Higo won the Queensland Amateur Championship a year ago and soon will head to Pepperdine University to start her college career.
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England’s Ellen Hume closed with a 3-under 69 to win the South Atlantic Women’s Amateur Championship, better known as the Sally, by five strokes on Saturday at Oceanside Country Club in Ormond Beach, Florida.
The long-hitting Ole Miss junior took a two-stroke lead on Bailey Shoemaker with six holes remaining and then finished eagle-birdie to claim the title in windy, cold conditions. Hume had taken a two-stroke lead with six holes to play at the Women’s Dixie Amateur last month before being overtaken down the stretch by Brigitte Thibault, but this time she had no trouble finishing the job.
Hume, who is on the outside looking in right now for the Curtis Cup squad from Great Britain & Ireland, entered the event as the No. 194 amateur in the world and had won the Faldo Series England Girls Championship a year ago.
Canada’s Remi Chartier opened with a bogey-free, 5-under-par 67 to take a one-stroke lead in the New Year’s Invitational at St. Petersburg (Florida) Country Club and never lost his advantage the remaining three rounds, finishing at 6-under 282 Sunday to win by three strokes ahead of Matthew Ruel.
Chartier, who moved to Florida before starting his college career at East Tennessee State University in 2019, made 16 birdies during the four rounds and had little stress down the stretch with Ruel being the only player within striking distance.
Ruel, a redshirt senior at Gonzaga University who lives in nearby Oldsmar, finished with three birdies in his last 10 holes to claim the runner-up spot.
Staff and Wire Reports