For a small town, Toukley punches well above its golfing weight.
Amid the 5,000-ish population in the New South Wales Central Coast haven are multiple PGA Tour of Australasia winner Dimi Papadatos and 2017 Australian Open player Pat Joseph.
And now a new name … Darcy Boyd.
Boyd shared medallist honours with young West Australian Connor McKinney after the pair finished locked at nine-under par after a round at each of Lake Karrinyup Country Club and Wanneroo Golf Club in the strokeplay phase of the Australian Amateur Championship.
It’s hard to say who represents the biggest surprise – Boyd is ranked No.3967 in the world amateur standings, but ahead of the unheralded 15-year-old Mandurah gun who is yet to make his rankings debut, although that will change next week. But for now, it’s safe to say that Boyd, 19, has grander plans, including putting his usually sleepy hometown squarely on the map.
“Oh, 100 per cent. It’s where I’m from,” Boyd joked. “Nah, there’s some pretty good players who’ve come out of Toukley.”
Boyd carded six birdies and an eagle on his way to a slashing 65 on Tuesday at Lake Karrinyup, then poured in another five birdies yesterday in a 70 at Wanneroo.
“It feels pretty awesome, I haven’t had a great past 12 months – I didn’t make a cut last year, even though it felt like my game was getting better,” Boyd said. “So it’s good to see the hard work pay off – a lot of physical stuff, short game and trying to improve the swing to make it more reliable.”
Boyd, the 2016 NSW Mixed Foursomes champ with his girlfriend and Australian Amateur competitor Danielle Vasquez, said he was nervous standing on the first tee of the famous Lake Karrinyup to begin his title assault, but was no longer that way.
“It was awesome to tame it … I just hung in there and kept hitting good shots and got some putts to drop. But I had no nerves today. I was surprised (after sleeping on the lead), but I stood on the first tee and hit a decent shot and wasn’t feeling too bad.”
The top seed was determined by drawing lots and McKinney has the honour of being the No.1 player into the matchplay phase. Boyd, though, was happy enough with the No.2 badge.
“That feels good. I’m pretty confident playing matchplay and have had some good results in the past. Hopefully I can keep hitting the ball well and going through the week. I don’t mind having the target on my back.”
McKinney, whose best ever round came on Tuesday with a 66 at Wanneroo, backed that up with a 69 at Lake Karrinyup.
“I have really felt like I have played consistent golf over the past two days,” McKinney said. “Actually I felt like I hit the ball better today (but) just missed some easy opportunities.
“A win would be really nice … but I’m basically trying to finish as high as I can, that’s my aim.”
The pair seemed to be sitting clear all day until another late charge by another West Australian.
Hometown hero Min Woo Lee ripped apart the final few holes of Wanneroo’s front nine in carding a second consecutive 68 to reach eight-under and nab the third seed.
His chip on his closing ninth hole for eagle singed the cup, leaving him one short of a medallist charge.
“The game really starts from here,” said Lee, last year’s Australian Amateur runner-up. “My game’s in pretty good shape, so I’m looking forward to the matches.”
The playoff for the final two spots featured 11 aspirants, but only Royal Perth’s Adam Hatch advanced before darkness fell at Lake Karrinyup.
Hatch holed a 60-metre eagle chip on the first hole to advance, while four birdies made the second hole.
That hole was halved in pars by Queenslander Chris Crabtree and New South Welshman Harrison Crowe when bad light ended play.