Jasper Stubbs has followed in the footsteps of fellow Australian Harrison Crowe and is off to the Masters and the British Open after winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne in a thrilling three-way play-off.
Stubbs came from six shots back in the final round on Sunday to down Chinese duo Yunhe “Sampson” Zheng and Wenyi Ding.
As winner of the tournament Stubbs has earnt a golden ticket to compete in the 2024 Masters at Augusta National and the British Open at Royal Troon.
“The Masters is something every kid’s ever dreamed of,” Stubbs said.
“It’s the one tournament that every golfer wants to play in their life and now that that’s going to be the reality for me, I’m speechless, it’s life-changing.
“I’m really excited for April now and also for the Open.”
He became the fourth Australian to triumph in the tournament following Crowe, Curtis Luck (2016) and Antonio Murdaca, who won at Royal Melbourne in 2014.
Crowe won the amateur crown last year in Thailand and turned professional on the back of his breakthrough year.
Stubbs said the only change to his career plan at this stage was to push back a Sunday flight to compete in the New Zealand amateurs, with plenty of friends and family looking to celebrate his victory.
The 21-year-old Victorian and Ding decided the title on the second play-off hole after the pair birdied the first on the tricky 18th, with no players doing better than par on the hole through the day.
Zheng, who had a four-stroke lead heading into day four after a record-setting six-under 65 in the third round, bombed the first play-off hole to drop out of the running.
Stubbs and 18-year-old Ding headed back to play the 18th again with the Australian nailing his approach on the back of the green while his rival landed his in a bunker.
Still with plenty of work to do Stubbs drilled his 13-metre putt to within 13cm and when Ding’s putt lipped out, the Australian tapped in before being swamped by the other 12 locals in the tournament, all wearing green and gold.
“My heart rate was going nuts and I could feel it beating in my chest and I was thinking about putting a good stroke on it because I’ve seen people miss three-inch putts before,” he said of his final putt.
“I just did my normal routine but as soon as my putt went in my mind went blank.”
Stubbs, who is a member at nearby Peninsular Kingswood while his younger sister Piper is the women’s club champion at Royal Melbourne, had three birdies on a blemish-free back nine en route to a two-under 69.
The faltering Zheng dropped shots at the 15th and 17th and needed to make par on the final hole just to make the three-way play-off with a four-over 75 a giant swing after his third round heroics.
Of the other Australians, Max Charles had a final round 70 to end in a share of fourth with CT Lin of Taiwan.
Gold Coast teenager Billy Dowling, who was in second spot heading into the final round, carded a 78 to finish 10th, one shot and one place behind Jeffrey Guan.
Connor McDade (tied-12th) and Quinn Croker (tied-19th) were also inside the top 20.