She’s been playing golf for nine years but at 13 years old Sophie Yip certainly wasn’t expecting to finish the opening day of the Federal Amateur Open in the lead.
Yip carded 71 to sit on top of the heap alongside Konomi Matsumoto after round one of Canberra’s premier amateur tournament at the Federal Golf Club on Friday.
She is one of the brightest young talents in Australian golf and the Sydneysider has already travelled around the world to hone her craft.
Yip could already hit a drive 150 metres when she was nine years old but the Concord Golf Club product’s stunning start in the capital has still been a shock.
“I didn’t see that coming, that’s cool,” Yip said.
“My game was on point and my putting was really good so that was good in the end. The course is in great condition and I’m playing good so I’m happy with it so far.
“I’m feeling pretty confident. I’m ready to see what happens next.”
Royal Adelaide member Billy Cawthorne is locked in a three-way tie for the lead alongside Jediah Morgan and Lawry Flynn to round out the opening day of the men’s tournament.
Cawthorne started strongly to card 67 in his first taste of the Federal Amateur Open and he’s keen to make his mark all around the nation.
The 19-year-old is eyeing more tournaments around Australia as he aims to work his way up to the professional ranks – his only challenge is balancing it with his job at a financial planning firm.
“I finished school last year so I’m just starting to get back into it again which is nice. In the last couple of months I’ve started to travel a little bit more but before that not so much,” Cawthorne said.
“It’s pretty good because the guy I work with is pretty friendly, he’s from the golf course as well so it’s not too hard to balance the golf. You struggle sometimes but it’s generally not too bad.
“[The tournament] has been good. I wouldn’t really change it. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, I wouldn’t really do anything too different. It’s just good to kick the round off with a nice start.”
Yip and Cawthorne lead the way in a 138-strong field as the best in Australia compete for a share in $8000 of prizes.
Teenage sensation Yip is well placed in her bid to earn the distinction of becoming the tournament’s second female winner, with 36 competing for the trophy and equal prizemoney.
A new champion in each tournament is guaranteed with last year’s winners Amelia Garvey and Austin Bautista – who turned professional this year – not returning to defend their titles.
FEDERAL AMATEUR OPEN
Friday-Sunday: At the Federal Golf Club, Red Hill. Entry is free.