Warrnambool golfer hits a new high

Joanna Flaherty, 19, with her second Warrnambool Junior Open Championships trophy. 140708RG18 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Joanna Flaherty, 19, with her second Warrnambool Junior Open Championships trophy. 140708RG18 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

JOANNA Flaherty’s year of constant improvement hit a new high yesterday when she claimed her second Warrnambool Junior Open Championships title.

Flaherty, 19, scored a seven-shot win in the open girls’ section, with rounds of 86 on Monday and 81 yesterday making her the standout golfer in the field.

The title is a second for the Warrnambool-based Port Fairy Golf Club member, who also won the tournament in 2011.

Her success comes two months after helping Port Fairy to a top-grade pennant title in May. Her handicap has fallen from seven to two in the process.

“I wasn’t overly happy (with the scores) but I improved today so that was positive,” Flaherty said after receiving the spoils of victory. “I just went out there and played my own game. I know the course. You can only do the best you can do.

“Around here home course knowledge helps, definitely, on any course I suppose. You know which shots to hit and which shots not to hit.”

Flaherty, a former Emmanuel College student, was unsure of her next move in the sport but was happy to face challenges as they arrived.

“I’ve organised a game at Commonwealth, which is a club in Melbourne. I might join up there next year but I’ll see what happens,” she said.

Flaherty was one of two teenagers celebrating claiming overall hours in the 36-hole tournament.

Two rounds of 74 delivered Bendigo teenager Kurtis Lynch a convincing eight-shot win in the open boys’ section.

His effort in tough conditions yesterday — four shots better than any other golfer — was the talk of the clubhouse.

Kurtis, a Neangar Park Golf Club member, said the title was his first at four attempts. He was runner-up to Mortlake’s Slade Palmer last year.

Corangamite District Golf Association (CDGA) Girls Junior Champion Mara Kyranakis, 14 from Box Hill , and Boys Junior Champion Kurtis Lynch, 16 from Bendigo, with their trophies. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Corangamite District Golf Association (CDGA) Girls Junior Champion Mara Kyranakis, 14 from Box Hill , and Boys Junior Champion Kurtis Lynch, 16 from Bendigo, with their trophies. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

His trip to the south-west also included winning the Alec Calvert Junior Open at Port Fairy on Sunday, firing an exceptional round of 71.

“It was definitely a struggle in the wind to stay consistent (yesterday) but my game stayed solid and I holed a lot of putts which helped,” he said.

“Compared to Neangar it’s a bit more open. It’s very similar in terms of the hills and the greens going everywhere but the wind, it’s definitely a lot different.”

The Bendigo Senior Secondary College student, 16, said he wanted to take his golf “as far as I can”.

“If that means turning professional and making a living out of it then that’d be good. That’s the dream anyway,” he said.

The tournament also doubled as the Corangamite District Golf Association junior championships, meaning Kurtis added his name to a second trophy.

Blackburn South’s Mara Kyranakis, 14, was the girls’ champion due to Flaherty and the runner-up, Bendigo’s Tahlia Holmberg, having already turned 18.

Mara, who hones her skills at Box Hill Golf Club, said she was pleased with her two days of golf. She signed for rounds of 87 and 90.

“Yesterday I played pretty well and today my putting was a lot better so that was positive,” she said.

“Towards the end I started losing it a little but I thought I played pretty well. I coped pretty well with the tough conditions.”

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