Golf

Kobori and Yip win Vic Boys and Girls

Sophie Yip and Kazuma Kobori

Final scores and a replay of the live stream can be found at golfvic.org.au/vicboysandgirls.

Kazuma Kobori and Sophie Yip have won the 2018 Victorian Boys and Girls Championships at Moonah Links Golf Club.

Kiwi Kobori proved too strong for the competition, becoming the seventh dual winner and sixth player to claim back-to-back titles in Victoria’s oldest junior tournament.

The last time such a feat was achieved was by Daniel Gaunt in 1995 and 1996, five years before 16-year-old Kobori was born.

“It feels amazing. Last year I didn’t really know I had won until I had finished but this year I had full control of what I was doing so it feels so much better,” said Kobori, now a two-time champion.

“There’s a lot of pressure, I get real nervous, but you’ve got to stick to your game plan and play your own game.”

“It’s pretty tough out here, honestly. If you can play good out here you can have low scores but there’s not much room for error so it feels good to win on this course.”

When asked about returning to attempt the second ever Victorian Boys Championship hat-trick, Kobori responded, “I will give it my best shot. Definitely. I’ll be back.”

Kobori’s greatest threat throughout the tournament came from Commonwealth’s Daniel Gill. The pair shared the lead between themselves at the end of each round with the tug-of-war ultimately slipping from Gill’s hands after an unfavourable three-over dropped him back to 5-under for the tournament and 3rd place.

Royal Fremantle’s Hayden Hopewell carded a final round 2-under to slip into outright second while Louis Dobbelaar (QLD) and Lachlan Chamberlain (ACT) rounded out the top five.

In the girls field, it came down to a two-horse race between New South Welshwomen June Song and Sophie Yip.

The two entered the day joint-leaders at two-over, four shots clear of the next best competitor, Victorian Jeneath Wong.

Yip, coming off the back of a stunning bogey-free third round, carded an early birdie on the fourth to settle the nerves and pull away from Song.

After 16 holes, Concord’s Yip found herself three shots clear but a dramatic two-shot swing, after a Yip bogey and a Song birdie, bought Song within one down the last.

Yip’s response? Holing out for eagle on the last.

“It sounds pretty unreal to be honest. I’m still getting over the shock but it’s pretty exciting,” said Yip.

“To be honest when I lined up that shot I was a bit shaken, a bit nervous… but I just kept my cool and hit it.”

“I actually didn’t know it went in. I heard everyone was cheering and I assumed it was about a foot away but then the ball wasn’t there when I got up there!”

The ending was a case of déjà vu for Avondale’s Song who has found herself right in contention for two years running but hasn’t been able to clinch the W.

“June is a really experienced golfer and a good player,” said Yip on her fellow competitor.

“I’ve known her for a really long time. I knew I just had to play my own game, play shot by shot and, yeah, I pulled through in the end.”

Yerin Kim (Strathfield) claimed third place while Wong, of Huntingdale Golf Club, and Southern’s Kay Bannan were the best placed Victorians in a share of fourth.

Steeped in history, the tournament boasts an impressive honour roll of both male and female winners.

Yip joins the company of Burtta Cheney (1935), Margaret Masters (1951 – 1954), Lindy Goggin (1969), Rachel Hetherington (1991) and Su Oh (2008 and 2010).

While Kobori’s name will be engraved alongside past male champions Kevin Hartley (1951), Ian Stanley (1966), Bob Shearer (1963), Marc Leishman (2001), Bryden Macpherson (2007) and Todd Sinnott (2009).

The Victorian Boys and Girls Championships is one of three World and Australian Junior Ranking Events held in Victoria, alongside January’s Victorian Junior Masters and the next premier event on the Victorian junior calendar, the Junior Victorian Open, at the start of summer.

Final scores and a replay of the live stream can be found at golfvic.org.au/vicboysandgirls.

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