CHARLESTOWN teenager Jye Pickin is confident he will handle the step up to the senior ranks after finishing his junior career with his best international result.
Pickin, who turns 18 on Friday, was runner-up in the stroke event at the Asia Pacific Junior Championships in Hong Kong last week.
The Macquarie College year-12 student shot an even-par 70 to be a stroke behind Finland’s Siltala Sakke at the Clearwater Country Club in Hong Long. Sakke was part of the European team, which had a special invitation to compete.
“It was one of my top three results,” Pickin said. “I would have been happy with a top five and to get second was great. I played the same tournament two years ago and finished 12th. The course was set up in championship style. They have a big professional event there every year and it was set up the same way. The conditions were fairly brutal, with wind and rain.
“The winner played a couple of groups behind me. There were a few putts I just missed down the stretch. But I didn’t think much of it at that stage, I was just trying to birdie the next hole.”
He had earlier partnered Queenslander Cassie Porter, one of two mixed Australian combinations, in four-ball and foursomes and finished seventh in the teams event.
Pickin had to bring forward his business studies trial HSC exam to travel to Hong Kong.
Next is the NSW Open at Twin Creeks from November 8-11. Pickin earned a start against the professionals as reward for winning the NSW Junior Open.
“You just have to put it out of your head that they are professionals,” he said. “You can still play as good as them. It’s about having that mindset.”
However, study for the HSC will take precedence over the next two months.
“With HSC coming up I won’t have as much time for practice,” he said. “Putting and chipping is the main thing for me. I’ll still get a couple of afternoons a week and a club comp round on the weekend.”
Pickin’s final HSC exam is on the morning of the first round of the NSW Open.
“I have a geography exam which I’ve arranged to do at Glenmore Park High School,” Pickin said. “The school is only five minutes from the golf course, so hopefully I get an afternoon tee time.”
* Brayden Petersen will take confidence into the National Futures Championship in Ballarat next month after finishing second at the NSW Trainee Championship at Riverside Oaks.
The Newcastle-born first-year Asquith trainee carded rounds of 70,72,72,73 to be one under, six shots behind Victorian Frazer Droop (70,66,72,73).
“He had a 66 on day two which was the difference,” Petersen said of his playing partner and friend.
“It was good to watch, but it’s always disappointing when someone shoots 66 and you shoot 72.
“I struggled on the last two holes all week. I ended up plus-six on 17 and 18 for the four rounds. The 17th is a 150m-par three and the 18th a 370m-par four but there were a lot of undulations in the greens and I three putted a couple of times.
“But If you offered me second spot at the start of the week, I would have said yes.”
Petersen’s second place followed finishing third at the Queensland Trainee Championships in June.
“I seem to play the four-rounders better than the one-round events,” Petersen said. “I prefer the four rounds and trying to find consistency.”
After the National Futures Championships (October 23-26), Petersen will tee up in the NSW Open.
“The top five trainees in Australia qualify and I’m ranked third,” he said.
* St Joseph’s Lochinvar student Corey Lamb helped NSW to second place at the Australian All-Schools championships at Bonville last week. Lamb, playing as the No.2, won three of his five matchplay contests.
* Aaron Townsend, Leigh McKechnie, Jamie Hook and Clayton Bridges will tee up in the Gunnedah Pro-Am on Wednesday.
* Horizon member Fran Bessant is tied for fourth at seven-over after the opening round of the Women’s Country Meeting at Richmond on Monday. Maitland’s Chairmane Van Der Veen leads division two. Round two is at Lynwood.
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