- Australian Amateur
The Australian Amateur championship started out as the Victorian Golf Cup in 1894, with Melbourne Golf Club organizing a tournament which was open to all amateur players in the country. Both the inaugural event and the second edition were bogey competitions over three 18-hole rounds before the 1896 Amateur switched to a match play contest with the final played over thirty-six holes.
When the following two competitions were both staged as 72-stroke play events, it meant that three different formats had been used in the first five editions of the Australian Amateur.
The Australian Golf Union was then formed in 1898 and a year later it organized its first amateur championship at Royal Sydney Golf Club, where Charles Gillies held off a strong challenge from defending champion Harry Howden to win the 2-day 72-hole stroke play event. The next three editions were also played in this format before match play competition returned.
From 1904 to 1939, the championship meeting included a stroke play event, the Australian Open, with the Amateur Champion determined by the leading eight or sixteen amateurs in the Open taking part in a match play contest on subsequent days. So, for those thirty-six years, host clubs will be “double listed” as the venue for these two prestigious national tournaments.
The exceptions to this were the meetings at Royal Melbourne in 1905 and 1907 when there was no separate event, with the amateur championship being won by the leading amateur in the open. Michael Scott was runner-up to professional Dan Soutar in 1905 to claim the amateur title then two years later Scott won the Australian Open with a score of 318, seven shots ahead of the leading professional Dan Soutar, becoming both Open and Amateur champion at the same time.
After World War II, the Australian Open no longer acted as a qualifying event for the Australian Amtateur, which became match play only with 18-hole ties except for the final. Both competitions were generally played at separate locations at different times, an exception to this being the 1952 staging of the championships at Lake Karrinyup, which was the first time either tournament had been played in Western Australia.
In 1959, 36-hole stroke-play qualifying was introduced, whittling the field down to sixty-four players who then played in the match play stages of the championship. The number of qualifiers was reduced to thirty-two in 1971. From 1996 the qualifying rounds were played over seventy –two holes but the 1959-1970 method of operating the Amateur resumed in 2012.
The biggest margin of victory in the tournament’s history came about a long time ago, in 1938 to be precise, when amateur Jim Ferrier from Manly, NSW – who later turned pro and won the USPGA at Plum Hollow in 1947 – won by 14 strokes against his nearest rival at Royal Adelaide. Ferrier won four Amateur titles between 1935 and 1939.
Two other players also lifted the Amateur trophy on four occasions. Scotsman Harry Howden’s victories came in the formative years of the championship when he won four of the first eight Australian Amateurs contested, while Englishman Michael Scott – who later became the oldest man to win The Amateur aged 54 at Hoylake in 1933 – won his clutch of titles between 1905 and 1910.
The Australian Amateur has been held at Royal Melbourne (1894-2005) a record twenty times and at Royal Adelaide (1900-2008) nineteen times. The Australian in New South Wales (1901-2015) has also hosted the event on another thirteen occasions. Not to be outdone, five other Australian Royal clubs have collectively been used twenty-five times as championship venues.
Australian Amateur Top 100 Leaderboard