Tour News

Viitakangas and Bettencourt win in SA

(Photo: Golf SA)
Simon Viitakangas from the Palmer Gold Coast Golf Club in Queensland has fired a Glenelg course record 7-under-par 64 to take out the Golf SA Amateur Classic by 1 stroke ahead of fellow Queenslander Aaron Wilkin.

Heading into the final round 2-over, four strokes behind leader Jarryd Felton from WA and two behind Tory Moses, Aaron Wilkin and Jordan Zunic, Viitakangas stormed out of the blocks with 4 birdies and an eagle on the opening nine holes, to move to 3-under-par for the tournament.

At the turn, Viitakangas trailed Wilkin by 1, who himself started with four biridies on the front nine while Felton had dropped back after four bogeys to make the turn at 4-over.

"I played tactical golf coming home, trying to just keep the ball in play" Viitakangas said.

With an eagle on the par 5 12th a hole he had previously birdied in each of the opening 3 rounds, Wilkin moved to 5-under-par, 2 ahead.

Viitakangas then strung together 3 consecutive birdies through 13 to 15, to claim the lead by 1 for the first time in the tournament.

In the group ahead of Wilkin, Viitakangas bogeyed the 17th after finding the hazard from the tee and then made par on the last to be clubhouse leader at 5-under.

Viitakangas expected Wilkin to force a playoff, but Wilkin too found trouble on the 17th dropping a shot after hitting his tee shot to behind trees and then finding the greenside bunker with his approach.

Heading down the par 5 last, Wilkin needed to birdie, but his approach fell short, requiring him to sink a 30 footer to force the playoff. He almost rolled his putt in, but had to settle for par and a runner up finish.

"I had the mindset of having to post a good number today, whatever was going to be, was going to be and it just happened." Viitakangas said

"I put this down to course management. I played quite smart golf around this layout and it was just enough to get by." Viitakangas added.

"This is no easy golf course and I'm just happy with the win and the way I was able to hold it together coming down the closing stages. You never know sometimes and today it fell my way."

"It's nice to win my second event this season after winning the Master of the Amateurs. I'm really learning how to keep my composure".

Jordan Zunic (NSW) finished in 3rd position at 2-under, while Todd Sinnott (VIC) finished fourth at 1-under with a closing round of 66.

Overnight leader Jarryd Felton closed with a disappointing 74 to finish in 6th position, with South Australia Anthony Murdaca finishing 7th.

Cory Crawford, Scott Ready and Benjamin Stone rounded out the top-10.

h3. Women's - Rene Erichsen Salver

Hayley Bettencourt from Mandurah Golf Club in WA has cruised to victory in the Rene Erichsen Salver held at the Glenelg Golf Club in Adelaide finishing at 8-over for the tournament.

After trailing Hannah Green from Mt Lawley Golf Club, by seven strokes after round one, Bettencourt made her charge in round two, moving to joint equal leader after 36 holes with a round of 74.

"In the first round, I didn't have a swing, I was struggling with the feel and the only thing that was working was my putter. I said to myself just don't have a blowout, so I was relatively happy to finish at 5-over." Bettencourt said.

After three rounds, the Western Australian held a 6 stroke buffer from her nearest opponent Jo Charlton from Metropolitan and was 8 ahead of both Elizabeth Elmassian (NSW) and Kono Matsumoto (VIC).

"In rounds two and three, I had a few things on my mind that I wanted to work on and in the end my short game was on fire really". Bettencourt said after posting rounds of 74-72.

Going into the final round, Bettencourt was never going to be complacent. "I wasn't overly confident as I've been shaky in the last round in the past few tournaments, but I've worked on a few things at a recent WA Camp and with my coach Richie Smith". Bettencourt said.

Bettencourt retained her lead throughout the final round and with three birdies on the front nine, was 6 ahead of her nearest rival Charlton through 12 holes.

Despite bogeys on 14, 15 and 17, Bettencourt held a six stroke lead down the last and finished in fine style with a birdie on the 467metre par 5 final hole to claim her second big win of the year, after taking honors at the WA Amateur mid-March.

"Around this course you definitely have to play smart. Towards the end I just wanted to chill out, have fun and let it go and not worry about what was happening."

"My course management and short game, chipping and putting basically got me over the line this week" said Bettencourt.

"I've become a lot smarter, I'm not the longest hitter, but have developed a very good short game. I just play to the centre of the green and then I'm confident with the putter."

Three out of the current top five women players and two out the top four men Amateurs, are from WA.

"There's a real positive vibe coming out of WA at the moment and we're all feeding off each other. I'm really looking forward to the Interstate Series, then I'm off to the US for a few big tournaments". Bettencourt added.

Finishing runner up in the Rene Erichsen was Jo Charlton at (15-over) after posting rounds75-77-77-74 (303). A further stroke back in third was Elizabeth Elmassian, 79-83-69-73 (304).

Jenny Lee was the best placed South Australian finishing in 8th position with rounds of 80-76-79-78 (25-over).

Golf South Australia