FRESH from a top-10 finish at the Lake Macquarie Amateur Championships, Nathan Waters is brimming with confidence heading into the NSW Amateur, which starts at Bonnie Doon tomorrow.
The 19-year-old from Scone, who plays out of the Long Reef club in Sydney, heads a strong local contingent, including Callan O’Reilly, Luke Morrison, Brayden Peterson and Will Barnett, competing for the NSW medal, which rolls into the NSW matchplay.
The opening two rounds will be held at Bonnie Doon and The Coast. The leading 60 players plus ties then play over 36 holes for the NSW Medal.
The top 32 players from the NSW Medal are eligible to compete in the NSW Amateur Championship matchplay, which tees off at Royal Sydney on Sunday.
‘‘I made the 60 last year but the final 36 holes were washed out,’’ Waters said.
‘‘I have played Bonnie Doon before but not The Coast, so I’m going down for a practice round tomorrow.
‘‘They have predicted showers and wind every day.
‘‘It will be similar conditions to the final round at Belmont. The fact I played well is a big boost to the confidence.’’
Waters fired rounds of 68, 77, 69, 69 to finish at four under, 11 shots behind Kiwi winner Josh Munn.
‘‘That second round proved pretty costly,’’ Waters said.
‘‘I was going all right and then had a double bogey at the first hole, which was my 10th. I blocked it way right and then plugged one in the bunker.
‘‘I followed that with a bogey at the next and had a couple of three putts on the way home.
‘‘Other than that stretch, I played pretty well.
‘‘Last year I finished 13th so to move into the top 10 was good. I was pretty pleased.’’
The NSW Amateur is the start of an important month.
Waters begins the Division 1 pennant season for Long Reef on February 10 and will also contest the Avondale Medal (February 9), NSW Cup (February 16) and Concord Cup (February 25).
‘‘They are three big vardon events,’’ Waters said.
‘‘The ultimate goal is to make the NSW and Australian amateur teams.
‘‘My game is in pretty good shape. I have been working hard with coach Paul Finkle.
‘‘I have been driving it fairly well and my putting has been good.
‘‘With the conditions this week, keeping the ball in play will be the key.’’
Waters, who works at the Muswellbrook pro shop to help fund his golf, is in his fourth year at Long Reef.
‘‘There are four of us from up this way there,’’ Waters said.
‘‘Will Barnett, he is only 16 and in the NSW development squad, and Dylan Perry and Tom Bateman from Aberdeen.
‘‘It makes it a bit easier with the travel.’’