Ben Schmidt has admitted he needed to play near flawless golf to defeat Callum Farr and win the all-English battle for the NSW Amateur Championship.
The 17-year-old Yorkshireman turned in a dominant performance against Northamptonshire’s Farr in today’s 36-hole final at St Michael’s Golf Club near Sydney.
The 7&5 victory was highly impressive and another landmark moment in the career of one of world golf’s most promising amateur talents.
Last year, Schmidt won the Brabazon and Carris trophies, the Sir Henry Cooper, the Justin Rose Daily Telegraph Junior Masters and helped England’s men to Home International success.
The latest trophy addition to his ever-expanding haul of silverware is yet more tangible evidence of a fantastic start to 2020 for England’s Golf’s contingent down under.
Schmidt’s success follows hot on the heels of Charlotte Heath’s brilliant win in last week’s Australian Women’s Amateur Championship in Queensland.
“It’s great to get a win and the first trophy for the season,” said a delighted Schmidt.
“I have played really well all week and felt comfortable out on the course and was able to continue that feeling into the final.
“To be honest I played pretty flawlessly and against a player of Callum’s standard that had to be the case.
“My main goal before I started today was to treat the 36-hole final as two separate matches. It helped to narrow it down and focus on a shorter target.
“I was able to win the first hole of the day hitting two good shots into the green and from there I just grew in confidence.”
Schmidt was two up after four holes of the morning round, but was pegged back when Farr managed a brilliant birdie two at the fifth.
Crucially, Schmidt won the seventh and eighth holes to extend his lead to three by the turn.
After winning the 14th, 16th and making birdie on 17, Schmidt was able to head into lunch with a five hole cushion having played the 18 holes in two under par.
The more experienced Farr may have been down at the halfway stage, but the 21-year-old refused to bow out and Schmidt knew he had to knuckle down and not get too far ahead of himself.
However, when Schmidt won the fifth hole of the afternoon round with a par to move six clear, it was clear he had one hand on the trophy.
With friend Shaun Carter on his bag, he was able to keep his mind clear and get the job done winning with five holes to spare.
Schmidt was full of praise for Farr and admitted it was tricky taking on a pal in such an important final.
“Callum’s a great mate and we get on really well,” confirmed Schmidt.
“I had Shaun on my bag and Tom Plumb caddied for Callum so we were able to separate things a bit.
“There were no hard feelings – we both knew we had to compete and someone had to win. Callum’s had a great week too and it’s great for English golf.
“Over the last few weeks everyone in the England team has been able to find a bit of form and it’s great that I could follow up Charlotte’s win with this success.”
Schmidt and the other six players representing England on the trip to Australia now have a day off before a practice round on Sunday ahead of the Avondale Amateur which starts on Tuesday.
“The whole experience of being in Australia and coping with travel, time differences and style of golf courses has been amazing,” added Schmidt.
“I’ve played four courses now and they all have different features, different types of grass and that’s all part of learning the game.
“Hopefully, all the England players can show up well again in the Avondale.”
Photograph credit: NSW Golf