Armstrong shines again in San Diego

Josh Armstrong

Emerging Canberran Josh Armstrong will return from the United States with another fine achievement under his belt for the second time this year.

Runner-up at the Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines, Armstrong replicated that finish at nearby La Costa today, finishing second at the Aaron Baddeley International Junior Championship in San Diego.

And in the girls’ division, Melbourne’s Gabi Ruffels finished a creditable fifth after an impressive week against more experienced players.

Armstrong, 17, held steady during the final round, carding an even-par 72 to push past all bar American Charlie Reiter, who won a berth at next year’s Emirates Australian Open for his outstanding 16-under total.

But Armstrong, the most recent addition to the Golf NSW high performance squad who now plays pennants at The Lakes, showed his growing maturity to put aside a front-nine double-bogey to finish at eight under, going past local hope Kaiwen Liu in the process.

It capped a good showing by the Australian contingent which shared first place in the boys’ teams division with the Californian team, a whopping 65 shots clear of their nearest rival.

Perth’s Ben Ferguson finished T4 overall with a 72 to leave him at -3, while Melbourne’s Cameron John was sixth at -2 after a 73 and Brisbane’s Louis Dobbelaar seventh at +1 after a 74.

Jediah Morgan finished T14 at eight over, Lachie Barker  T16 at nine over and Lochlan Coleborn 19th at 10 over, leaving all Golf Australia representatives in the top 20.

Ruffels was a faint hope when play began today, but needed to make a charge early.

Bogeys on the second and fifth didn’t help that cause, but the young Victoria Golf Club representative stuck admirably to her task with a couple of late birdies in her closing two-over-par 75.

That left her square for the tournament and just seven shots behind winner Jo Hua Hung, who fought off the challenge of two of her Taiwanese compatriots to win a berth in February’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

Gold Coaster Issy Taylor continued to impress with her closing 74 enough to nab T7 at three over, while Kathryn Norris finished T14 at nine over, Ella Adams T19 at 13 over and Alex Hilliard 26th at 33 over.

The girls’ team of Norris, Taylor and Adams finished fifth, while the two-strong team of Hilliard and Ruffels finished eighth with that category won by the lone Japanese team.

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