RELIEF was the overwhelming feeling after Jye Pickin rolled in a par-putt at the 18th hole to complete one of the most dominant wins in the NSW Junior boys championship on record at Charlestown Golf Course on Friday.
Relief that all the hard work had finally paid off. Relief that Pickin finally had a big win to his name. Relief that the crowning moment was achieved on his home course in front of family and friends.
Pickin closed with a three-under-par 69 to finish the 72-hole championship at 12 under and win by an astonishing 13 strokes.
“It is a really good feeling to know that the hard work has been worth it,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s more a sense of relief. There was a bit of pressure being at my home course and my last event as a junior. Going up the 18th I was able to take it all in. My family were in the gallery as well as a fair chunk of members. It was awesome.”
First-round leader Louis Dobbelaar (76,73,76,73) and fellow Queenslander Lewis Hoalth (71,72,71,75) were next best at one over.
Victory earned Pickin a start at the NSW Open against the professionals at Twin Creeks in November.
“That should be good fun,” he said. “I have missed out by a stroke at pre-qualifers in the past two years. I guess it was third time lucky. It will be a great experience. I will learn more about my game which will help me improve.”
Charlestown professional Ryan Smith has coached Pickin for the past eight years.
“It was really good to see him have a big win,” Smith said. “He is such a good player and such a good kid, but the results just haven’t shown it. He is every part as good as [Australian Amateur representative] Blake Windred. Blake got the results and, until now, Jye hasn’t. It is a great confidence boost for him going forward into the senior amateur events, knowing he can do it.”
Pickin entered the final round with a seven-stroke gap and put the result beyond doubt with birdies at the fourth and fifth.
“I tried to forget about the lead,” Pickin said. “Obviously there were a few nerves on the first tee but I picked up a birdie at the fourth which settled things down.”
Smith said Pickin’s course management and local knowledge came through.
“I told him this morning: you know where to hit it and where not to hit it,” Smith said on Friday. “He didn’t do anything silly, he just played smart. He knew the greens. That was a big thing. A lot of the interstate guys in the final group struggled to read the greens.”
Queenslander Hye Park carded an eight-under-par 65, to finish five under and win the girls’ title by four strokes from Cassie Porter.