It was Sensational Sunday for Team GB golfers with a haul of medals at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney – and a historic double gold for England’s Georgia Hall.
She became Team GB’s first gold medallist in an Olympic golf event for over a hundred years when she won both the individual women’s competition and team gold with compatriots Chloe Williams of Wales and the Scots pair Ewan Scott and Bradley Neil.
England boy international Ashton Turner won silver in the men’s individual event while Chloe Williams won the bronze in the women’s competition.
They helped Team GB to win a record breaking 40 medals in a single day and brought Great Britain’s overall total to 66 medals, comprising a superb 19 gold, 23 silver and 24 bronze medals.
Georgia Hall – the European number one and world number four – went in to the final day at Twin Creeks golf course leading by three shots and could barely hold back the tears after her last putt when she realised she had done enough to secure the gold medal.
The 16-year-old from Remedy Oak in Dorset said: “It feels amazing to have made history. I enjoyed it a lot and it was a great experience for me. I cried after the last hole because I was just happy it was over to be honest. It was a long week and I just wanted to make sure I won, so the pressure was there.
“My aim all week was to not shoot over par and I did that, so I am pleased with my performance on the whole and to get a double gold medal in the individual and the team is fantastic.
“I think the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is definitely closer for me now, having come to Australia. It gives me a hint of the style of competition and what to expect from everything that comes with it and hopefully I can make it in three years’ time.”
She scored a final round of one-under 71 for a six-under total and a two stroke winning margin over Australia’s Celina Yuan. Chloe Williams returned an excellent four-under 68 to take the bronze on two-under overall.
In the men’s event, Ashton Turner shot a superb five-under 67 to claim the silver medal, having been in a podium position all week. He finished on 15-under par and was three strokes behind gold medallist Kevin Yuan of Australia.
Great Britain won the team gold by 12 shots over Australia – having been in first place throughout the event. They were tied with Australia after the first day but led by six shots after the second day and eight shots after the third. New Zealand won the bronze medal.
Reflecting on Great Britain’s record breaking performance Chef de Mission Mark England said: “This has been an unforgettable five days for Team GB’s young athletes. Winning 66 medals is a truly remarkable accomplishment and one that the whole of Team GB can be extremely proud of. They have coped very well with the challenging conditions and extreme temperatures to produce record breaking results”
He added: “A special mention goes to the golfers and in particular our Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer Georgia Hall, who created history by winning the first golf gold medals in an Olympic event for over a hundred years.”
Image shows Georgia Hall and Ashton Turner
Final GB individual scores. Par 72
Gold medal Georgia Hall (Remedy Oak) -6 (71 72 68 71)
Bronze medal Chloe Williams (Wales) -2 (74 69 75 68)
5th Gabriella Cowley (Brocket Hall) +1 (71 72 73 73)
8th Amber Ratcliffe (Royal Cromer) +5 (75 75 70 73)
9th Lauren Whyte (Scotland) +6 (76 67 76 75)
Silver medal Ashton Turner (Kenwick Park) -15 (64 68 74 67)
4th Bradley Neil (Scotland) -11 (69 70 69 69)
8th Ewan Scott -8 (72 67 72 69)
9th Harry Ellis (Meon Valley) -7 (72 72 70 67)
12th Jack Singh–Brar (Brokenhurst Manor) -1 (73 73 67 74)
Georgia aims for gold for Team GB
19th January 2013
England’s Georgia Hall is leading the gold medal hunt for Team GB in the girls’ golf championship at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney.
The 16-year-old European number one holds a three-shot lead, with one round left to play, after she scored four-under 68 in the third round at Twin Creeks Golf Club.
Georgia (Remedy Oak) has also helped GB into pole position in the team event, where they lead Australia by four strokes. Georgia’s scores count towards the team total alongside those of Chloe Williams of Wales and the Scots pair, Ewan Scott and Bradley Neil,
But, before they could look ahead to continuing their challenge for team gold they had to survive a disqualification drama
Team GB official Tegwen Matthews commented: “‘Super Saturday’, as traditionally referred to in the Olympics, very nearly turned into ‘Shocking Saturday’ for TeamGB.
She explained: “A group, including Ewan Scott and Bradley Neil, teed off from an incorrect teeing ground on the short 6th hole. The tee had been moved some 30 yards left of its previous position and the group had not been advised of the change of tee or yardage.
“Under the R&A rules of golf, the penalty is disqualification. Following an appeal, the committee reviewed the decision and, following discussion with R&A representatives, the disqualification was waived under ‘exceptional circumstances’, having found precedent from a similar incident in an international qualifying event.
“The group of three, which included an Australian player, were asked to replay that hole from the correct tee. The score recorded from the hole, to stand as the correct score for the re-instated players.” Bradley finished with a three-under score of 69 and Ewan posted a level par 72.
Tegwen added: “Everyone concerned was entirely grateful, most especially Team GB, and I think we can safely say, that every teeing ground will now be examined with extreme diligence!”
The incident added to a turbulent day all round. At the start of play Five Team GB players still had to complete their second rounds, following a suspension because of record temperatures.
England’s Ashton Turner finished on four-under par 68, to keep his lead in the boys’ individual. Scotland’s Lauren Whyte holed a15-footer on the last, to loud cheers from her teammates, to post a superb five-under par 67. So, at the halfway stage she was one of four GB players tied at the top of the girls’ leaderboard, alongside Georgia, Chloe and England’s Gabriella Cowley.
As the third round got underway, temperatures dropped to 23 degrees – half those of the previous day – and were accompanied by showers and a challenging breeze. Georgia made her move with her fine 68 and is three shots clear of Australia, while Gabriella, who scored 73, is currently in the bronze medal position.
England’s Amber Ratcliffe fired her tournament best of 70 and will be looking to improve on that again on the final day.
Ashton Turner was disappointed with his 74, which dropped him into bronze position, behind Australia and China, but he’ll be hunting for gold in the final round.
Fellow England players Jack Singh-Brar and Harry Ellis, shot their first sub-par rounds of the tournament, with 67 and 70 respectively.
Tegwen commented: “Team GB spirits were revived following the boys’ re-instatement and everyone is in exactly the right frame of mind to maximise their performance tomorrow and contribute to the ever growing haul of medals from all the other Team GB athletes.
“Let’s make it ‘Super Sunday’ for Team GB golf!”
Leading scores. Par 72
-5 Georgia Hall (Team GB, Remedy Oak) 71 72 68
-2 Celina Yuan (Australia) 72 73 69
E Gabriella Cowley (Team GB, Brocket Hall) 71 72 73
+1 Jienalin Zhang (China) 73 75 69
+2 Chloe Williams (Team GB, Wales) 74 69 75
+3 Danting Cai (China) 72, 76, 71; Lauren Whyte (Team GB, Scotland) 76 67 76, Weiwei Zhang (China) 75 73 71, Wenyung Keh (New Zealand) 76 71 72
+4 Amber Ratcliffe (Team GB, Royal Cromer) 75 75 70
-15 Kevin Yuan (Australia) 69 68 64
-11 Zecheng Dou (China) 69 67 69
-10 Ashton Turner (Team GB, Kenwick Park) 64 68 74
-9 Brett Coletta (Australia) 70 67 70; Compton Pikari (New Zealand) 70 68 69
-8 Bradley Neil (Team GB, Scotland) 69 70 69
-7 Jin Zhang (China) 67 68 74
-5 Blake Proverbs (Australia) 74 66 71; Cheng Jin (China) 71 70 70; Ewan Scott (Team GB, Scotland) 72 67 72
-4 David Micheluzzi (Australia) 71 70 71
-3 Jack Singh-Brar (Team GB, Brokenhurst Manor) 73 73 67
-2 Harry Ellis (Team GB, Meon Valley) 72 72 70
Blistering heat forces suspension in Australia
18 January 2013
Blistering temperatures forced play to be suspended today in the second round of the golf championship at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival – but Team GB are coping well.
Team leader Kyle Phillpots reported: “The weather forecast had promised high temperatures and by 8am it was 30C (86F); by 10am it was 40C (104F) and when it reached an area record of 45C (113F) at 12.30, play was suspended for the day.
“This left players with up to four holes still to play and the round will be resumed at 6.45am tomorrow.
“Despite the intensity of the weather the GB players were not to be deterred. Taking every advantage to find natural shade many of them also used their umbrellas to block out the direct sun. They also were constantly supplied with cold towels and of course, plenty of fluids.”
Five Team GB players have completed their rounds at Twin Creeks Golf Club, Sydney: the England trio of Harry Ellis (Meon Valley), Georgia Hall (Remedy Oak) and Gabriella Cowley (Meon Valley) all returned scores of level par 72. Chloe Williams of Wales made up for her disappointment of a first round 74, with an excellent three-under 69, while Scotland’s Ewan Scott was even better on five-under.
Of those still on the course, Jack Singh-Brar (Brokenhurst Manor) is one over with four to play and Bradley Neil of Scotland is on three under with two to play. Fellow Scot, Lauren White, was also three-under and had reached the 15th tee when play was halted. Amber Ratcliffe (Royal Cromer) was two-under when she marked her ball on the 15th green.
The overnight leader, England boy international Ashton Turner continued his good form and stands at four under for the round with one hole to play. The highlight of another excellent performance from the Kenwick Park player came when he drove the green at the 433 yard 8th hole.
"I knew I had hit it well, but not that well,” said Ashton. “I was looking for my ball from around 100 yards out, I couldn't believe it when I saw it was on the green. That's certainly my longest drive in competition."
Kyle Phillpots added: “There’s plenty more to come from this team – and the temperatures tomorrow will be much cooler.”
After the first round Team GB were leading the men’s and women’s individual events and tied first with Australia in the team competition.
Team GB take lead in Australia
17th January 2013
Team GB, led by England players, made a sizzling start to top all three leaderboards after the first round of the golf championship at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).
Boy international Ashton Turner scored a superb eight-under par 64 at Twin Creeks Golf Club, Sydney, to lead the boys’ event by three. European number one Georgia Hall of Dorset and fellow international Gabriella Cowley, from Essex, both returned one-under 71 to top the girls’ leaderboard.
Ashton, from Lincolnshire, said afterwards: “I am really pleased with my performance, it was a great start to the tournament and there are plenty of shots left out there, so I can push on tomorrow.
“The heat out here is a big difference compared to home but you’ve just got to keep drinking water, keep putting the sun cream on and make sure we don’t get burnt.
“It is an honour to represent Team GB at golf for the first time in over 100 years. I think the sport definitely deserves its space on the Olympic programme and it’s great to be part of the team that has introduced it back in again.”
Ashton holds a three shot lead over China, followed closely by New Zealand on 68 and a host of players on 69, including Team GB member Bradley Neil. Meanwhile, Georgia and Gabriella are one shot clear of players from China and Australia who had level par scores of 72.
Team GB are also tied first with Australia in the team event, thanks to the scores of Georgia Hall, Chloe Williams of Wales (74) and the Scots pair Bradley Neil and Ewan Scott (72).
The team’s scores were compiled in temperatures are as hot as the golf. Play started at 7.30am and by mid-morning the mercury had risen to 35 degrees.
Team official Tegwen Matthews commented afterwards: “All the players felt they left some shots out there – including Ashton who bogeyed the last in his scintillating 64!
“However, with three more rounds to complete, there is plenty of opportunity for them to maximise their performance – and they are just itching to get out there and do just that!”
Team GB individual scores. Par 72
64 Ashton Turner (Kenwick Park)
69 Bradley Neil (Scotland)
72 Ewan Scott (Scotland), Harry Ellis (Meon Valley)
73 Jack Singh-Brar (Brokenhurst Manor)
71 Georgia Hall (Remedy Oak), Gabriella Cowley (Brocket Hall)
74 Chloe Williams (Wales)
75 Amber Ratcliffe (Royal Cromer)
76 Lauren Whyte (Scotland)
Team GB prepare to tee off in Australia
16th January 2013
Team GB golfers – who include six English players – tee off tomorrow in the golf championship at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).
Dorset's Georgia Hall, the GB flag bearer at the opening ceremony, and her nine team-mates will be the first Team GB competitors in the sport of golf for over 100 years. Golf featured in the 1900 and 1904 Games and is returning to Olympic competition at the Rio 2016 Games.
They will take on the challenge of Australia, New Zealand and China over 72 holes at the Twin Creeks Golf course in Ludenham, Sydney.
They’re well prepared for what lies ahead. Golf team leader Kyle Phillpots said: “After four days of getting used to the heat, time difference and the course, the golfers are fully prepared and looking forward to the Youth Olympic challenge.
“They are all fit, happy with their game and swinging well. They are all enjoying playing the course and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be successful. They all have the potential to reach the medal podium.”
There are men’s and women’s individual competitions and a team event.
The golf team includes six English players. They are Jack Singh-Brar (Brokenhurst Manor), Gabriella Cowley (Brocket Hall), Harry Ellis (Meon Valley), Georgia Hall (Remedy Oak), Amber Ratcliffe (Royal Cromer) and Ashton Turner (Kenwick Park). The line-up is completed by Bradley Neil, Ewan Scott and Lauren Whyte of Scotland and by Chloe Williams of Wales.