Down the Fairway: Jye Pickin homes in on NSW Junior Open title

ON COURSE: Jye Pickin sizes up a putt at the junior-am at Merewether on Monday. The Charlestown 17-year-old is among six of Australia's top 20 ranked players contesting the NSW Junior Open this week. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
ON COURSE: Jye Pickin sizes up a putt at the junior-am at Merewether on Monday. The Charlestown 17-year-old is among six of Australia's top 20 ranked players contesting the NSW Junior Open this week. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

JYE Pickin has pictured every situation – good and bad – and mapped out a plan of attack.

IN THE SWING: Branxton junior and NSW team member Corey Lamb. Picture: David Tease (Golf NSW)

IN THE SWING: Branxton junior and NSW team member Corey Lamb. Picture: David Tease (Golf NSW)

The 17-year-old is one of the favourites in a high-quality field teeing off in the NSW Junior Open Championships, starting at Belmont on Tuesday.

The 72-hole championship moves to Charlestown, Pickin’s home course, for the final three rounds.

“We found out a few months ago that Charlestown will be hosting,” Pickin said. “Since then, my preparation has been geared towards this event. It is one of the strongest on the calendar and to be able to play on two courses I've grown up playing all my life will hopefully help me. I haven’t been on the range a heap. It has mainly been on-course stuff with coach [and Charlestown professional] Ryan Smith.”

Pickin has practiced hitting high fades, low draws, he has played out of the rough, punched into greens, hit from good lies, bad lies … every scenario has been addressed.

“The moments where you are under pressure on the golf course, you can recreate them on the range,” he said. “I have been playing holes with Ryan and putting myself in different situations so I can adapt to the pressure points during the week. The key is being patient. I ran into the greenkeeper on Sunday and he told me the course will be set up nice and tough. It will be a good challenge.”

Pickin, who is the NSW Junior captain, finished second at the Greg Chalmers Junior Masters at Shelley Beach on Sunday and played in a sponsors day at Merewether on Monday.

He is one of six juniors, alongside Queenslanders Louis Dobbelaar and Lewis Hoath, South Australian  Frank Vucic and NSW teammates Corey Lamb (Branxton) and Harrison Crowe, ranked in the Golf Australia order of merit competing this week.

“Corey Lamb is in good form and I have seen him up here practicing a fair bit,” Pickin said. “The course is in prime condition and will be good for scoring. The key will be getting off the tee. If you can put yourself in a good position, it will give you the best chance of making the birdies you are going to need.”

Pickin is in year 12 at Macquarie College and has been fitting golf in around study.

“I finished third at the Northern Territory In Darwin a few weeks ago, but, other than that, I haven’t played in any major tournaments,” he said. “I have had assessment tasks I needed to get done for school. The trial HSC is in about seven weeks. This will be my last event until I close the books in November. Hopefully I can do really well. It would be nice to be thereabouts on the final day.”

More than 220 of the best boy and girl players from ages 13 to 17 will be in action at Belmont and Charlestown.

In conjunction with the NSW Junior Open, the Jack Newton Junior Golf state age, NSW Club junior champion of champions and NSW country junior boys and girls championships will be held.

Other local hopefuls include, Reece Green, Josh Robards, Oscar Gilson, Brayden Brooks, Jacob Dundas, Caleb Bromley, Harry Cleare, Camran Walton and Hamish Ellison.