Last Friday’s Anzac rugby league test between Australia and New Zealand wasn’t the only renewal of the age old rivalry between the neighbouring countries this past weekend.
24 of the best up and coming junior golfers from each country, aged between 5 and 14, contested the U.S Kids Golf Trans-Tasman Cup at Barnwell Park Golf Club in Sydney’s Inner West.
A Pro-Kid event was held on Friday as a lead in to the main event the following day, with two Aussies and two Kiwis paired off against one another and accompanied by a professional.
After a stirring opening ceremony which included the signing of both anthems and a Haka performed by the New Zealand team, the preliminary Pro-Kid proved almost as exciting and drama filled as the main event. Scores were tied at six points apiece at the end of regulation play and so the six and under boys were sent back to the par-3 8th tee for a sudden death playoff.
With up to 100 players, parents, caddies and grandparents watching on, all showing far greater nerves than the players involved, the first hole of sudden death was tied, sending the playoff to the 9th hole, where the Australians claimed victory in near darkness.
“The atmosphere was fantastic, with a full gallery lining the fairways cheering and encouraging these young stars who were so cool under pressure,” said US Kids Managing Director Kevin Wallis of the playoff. “It was so great to have Mums and Dads, Grandparents and siblings all involved in the event.”
Members of the victorious Australian team celebrate. PHOTO: U.S. Kids Golf Australia.
The players and their supporters gathered again on Saturday for day two to try and emulate the excitement of the previous day. Australia were out to avenge their 2016 loss in the same event, when they went down in a close fought match 6.5 to 5.5.
As was the case in 2016 the battle for the Trans-Tasman Cup came down to the last match on the course. With Australia leading 6 to 5, the home team only required a half point from the Boy’s 10 age category to claim victory. Hamish Farquharson and Harry Daniels proved up to the challenge, halving the 18th hole and their match for Australia to emerge victorious and claim the silverware 6.5 to 5.5.
Many friendships were forged between the rival players over the two day event, with two of the Boy’s 9 age division players already forming an Aussie/Kiwi alliance to take on the U.S Kids Golf World Championships held later in the year at Pinehurst, referring to their combination as “The Anzacs.”