The Vintage's Corey Lamb is keen to push his claims for a spot in the state open team at the Avondale Amateur Medal starting on Tuesday after finishing as the Hunter's best at the NSW Amateur Championships last week.
The 18-year-old made the final eight, bowing out on an extra hole to Jed Morgan in the matchplay. Ben Schmidt went on to claim the NSW Amateur crown.
Toronto's Jacob Dundas and Merewether's Luke Ferrier also qualified for the 32-man matchplay section after strokeplay rounds at The Coast and St Michael's courses in Sydney.
Dundas was tied 19th with an even-par 142, while Ferrier was one over to be tied 23rd. However, Ferrier lost 9 and 7 to Jayden Ford, while Dundas went down 5 and 4 to Yarim Yenidjeian in the opening matchplay round.
Lamb finished tied for fifth in the strokeplay at three under after a 67 at The Coast on day two, and he carried that form into the matchplay. He powered past Quinnton Croker 3 and 2 and Zachary Maxwell 4 and 3 to make the quarter-finals.
Against strokeplay winner Morgan, Lamb was two down after nine but squared it up after 12 only to lose the next three holes. Three down with three to play, Lamb again fought back to level, taking it to a 19th hole.
Morgan holed his putt to win but Lamb took plenty of positives from the result after struggling at the Australian Master of the Amateurs and the Australian Amateur titles to start the year.
"It was just pretty solid," Lamb said of his play.
"I hit my irons well and chipped and putted pretty good, drove it well, so it was all pretty good."
He has his sights on Avondale and next month's Queensland Open as he tries to move from the NSW junior team to the senior side.
"It's my first full year of just golf, and getting in the men's state team is probably a goal," he said.
"You've just got to go good before it gets picked, just try and go solid in those events and see what happens."
** Charlestown product Brayden Petersen said a renewed focus on the course helped him make an ideal start to his final year as a trainee last week.
Petersen won the Rich River Trainee Classic for a second time in three years.
In his first tournament of 2020, the 25-year-old shot a final round three-under 69 to overhaul overnight leader Steffanie Vogel and win by two shots with a seven-under total.
The Asquith club trainee had three birdies on the front nine in a bogey-free last round.
He started the tournament with a seven-under 65 but carded a five-over second round in tough conditions before sitting two shots off the lead with a 70 on day three. Petersen was pleased with the composed effort.
"I've been working really hard on just focusing mentally on the course," he said.
"Just course management really and I think that's what really helped me. Just staying focused and limiting my mistakes.
"There were two rounds there where I didn't have a bogey so I just played solid golf really."
Petersen is building towards a campaign at the Australian and Japan tour schools and is focusing on the trainee tournament circuit to hone his skills.
"I'd definitely like to win, if not place top five, every time I tee up in a four-round event, just to build confidence going into it," he said.
His next target is the Queensland PGA next month, which he qualified for when winning that state's PGA trainee championship last year.