Classic show by Cam Smith juniors

Published 5:00pm 12 December 2022

Classic show by Cam Smith juniors
Words by Nick Crockford

The 2022 Cameron Smith Junior Classic (CSJC) ticked all the boxes, on and off the course - now organisers at Wantima Country Club want to make it even better.

Expanding the event from one to two days, 18 to 36 holes, adding a nine-hole tournament and golf clinic “presented different challenges”, Classic founder and co-organiser Ken McKay said.

However, the bold move paid off with a maximum 180 entries (and many in reserve) on Thursday and great finishes on Friday at the Brendale course.

Cameron Smith, one of the world’s top golfers who was among the crowd by the 18th green as the final groups finished, said: “The last couple of days have gone really well.”

Putt to win

The boys’ 18 and Under title went to Keperra’s Wesley Hinton, who sank a five-foot putt on the final green to maintain his narrow advantage and win by one shot. 

Hinton has played in all five previous Classics (2017-2021) and says he will still be young enough to defend his title next year.

“It was fun,” he said, after finishing four under par. “I’ve had that on the putting green a lot - a five-footer to win - but it feels really good to do it in real life!”

Kirra St-Laurant, from Links Hope Island, took the girls’ 18 and Under title with rounds of one over and then one under to finish even par.

Winners' gallery - open and click through

Afterwards St-Laurant praised the tournament and the course. Like Wesley Hinton, she also took home a signed, framed shirt from Cameron Smith.

In the new 14 and Under nine-hole event, devised by Classic co-organiser Shane Johnsson, Kamran Barden, of Maroochy River, beat Gainsborough’s Alex Nieuwoudt in a putt-off for the boys' award.

In the girls' competition, Jazarah Kamu, from Meadowbrook, beat Pacific's Zoe Weatherhead to the inaugural girls' 14 and under title.

All awards were presented by Smith, who grew up in Bray Park, learned to play at Wantima and was back home for the first time in three years due to COVID and his overseas playing schedule.

Historic trophies

He devised and led Thursday’s clinic for entrants and over two days signed every autograph, posed for every picture, shook every hand, answered every question, helped organisers and met every request from every quarter.

After his most successful year – winning the 150th Open Championship, Players Championship (dubbed the fifth major), Australian PGA for a third time and Sentry Tournament championships with a record low total - Smith still spent time out on the course watching.

He also brought the historic claret jug Open trophy, presented to every winner since 1873 and Joe Kirkwood Cup, held by the Australian PGA champion since 1929, and put them on display at Wantima during the two days. 

“The guys here at Wantima (Country Club) have done a really great job,” he said. “They are as passionate about this event as I am, which makes it easier.

Picture gallery 1 - click through

“Seeing (golf) clubs in kids’ hands is awesome. We’ll keep trying to improve it. We’re happy to listen to any suggestions and make this tournament as good as we can.

“Thanks to all parents for bringing the kids out here. As a little fella I thought that was, what it was (for parents) …. but now I realise you guys put in a lot of time and effort.”

Smith also paid tribute to co-organisers Ken McKay and Shane Johnsson, Wantima's volunteers and ground staff adding: “You guys were superstars and I hope to see everyone back next year.”

McKay said: “We will learn from this year and try to implement ways to improve the event, but unless Cameron asks us to change it, this will be a two-day event again next year.

Junior friendly

“The focus on our club has been very junior friendly. People probably understand how we are trying to promote golf with one of the best, if not the best, role model in Australia.

“This has been a team-run event with massive support. Everyone’s been magnificent. I can’t thank them enough ... especially Shane and Ian Davis (Smith’s manager).”

Johnsson was delighted with the new nine-hole event and hopes “we can do the same again next year”.

“The players got round in two hours, we had a tie and a putt-off for the boys’ winner,” he said. “Golf Queensland have been a great help and we’ll look for ways to make it even better.”

Picture gallery 2 - click through

Cameron Smith Junior Classic 2022

Day 1 – 18 holes

A Grade Boys

Gross winner - Wesley Hinton (Keperra)

Gross runner-up - Harry Takis (Virginia)

Nett winner - Jayke Merrell (Wantima)

B Grade Boys

Gross winner - Cooper Brown (Surfers Paradise)

Gross runner-up - Elio Di Bella (Rowes Bay)

Nett winner - Alexander Clark (Wantima)

C Grade Boys

Gross winner - Byron Rieck (Sanctuary Cove)

Gross runner-up - Declan Golder (Dalby)

Nett winner - Hennessy De Guzman (Meadowbrook)

A Grade Girls

Gross winner - Kirra St Laurant (Links Hope Island)

Nett winner - Allegra De Guzman (Pacific)

B Grade Girls

Gross winner - Alicia Ludi (Sanctuary Cove)

Nett winner - Bella Zhong (Burleigh)

Closest to the Pin

A Grade Boys - Jarrod Hill (Nudgee)

B Grade Boys - Jaxon Smith (Cooroy)

C Grade Boys - Hayden Petersen (Maryborough)

A Grade Girls - Caitlin Vanderkruk (Keperra)

B Grade Girls - Zali Crouch (Windaroo Lakes)

Day 2 – 18 holes

A Grade Boys

Gross winner - Taj Egea (Brookwater)

Gross runner-up - Justin McCormack (Gailes)

Nett winner - Benjamin Dowling (Keperra)

B Grade Boys

Gross winner - Elio Di Bella (Rowes Bay)

Gross runner-up - Will Tonga (Wantima)

Nett winner - Robert Nieuwoudt (Gainsborough)

C Grade Boys

Gross winner - Jay Topakas (Southport)

Gross runner-up - Peter Rose (Virginia)

Nett winner - Kane Johnsson (Wantiuma)

A Grade Girls

Gross winner - Kate McFarlane (Bundaberg)

Nett winner - Jade Escriva (Caloundra)

B Grade Girls

Gross winner - Alicia Ludi (Sanctuary Cove)

Nett winner - Cassandre Geens (Keperra)

Closest to the Pin

A Grade Boys - Henry Coward (Royal Queensland)

B Grade Boys - Toby Davis (Toowoomba)

C Grade Boys - Jay Topakas (Southport)

A Grade Girls - No winner

B Grade Girls - Alyanna Antonio (Virginia)

Day 1 and 2 – 36 holes

A Grade Boys

Gross/Overall winner - Wesley Hinton (Keperra)

Nett winner - Justin Wei (Burleigh)

Gross runner-up - Jayke Merrell (Wantima)

B Grade Boys

Gross winner - Elio Di Bella (Rowes Bay)

Nett winner - Jett Weizman (Maroochy River)

Gross runner-up - Will Tonga (Wantima)

C Grade Boys

Gross winner - Byron Rieck (Sanctuary Cove)

Nett Winner - Kane Johnsson (Wantima)

Gross runner-up - Jay Topakas (Soutport)

A Grade Girls

Gross/Overall winner - Kirra St Laurant (Links Hope Island)

Nett winner - Juhi Rampersad (RACV Royal Pines)

Gross runner-up - Kate McFarlane (Bundaberg)

B Grade Girls

Gross winner - Alicia Ludi (Sanctuary Cove)

Nett winner - Bella Zhong (Burleigh)

Gross runner-up - Amara Aston (Mt Warren Park)

MyGolf 9-hole

Overall Gross winner Boys – Kamran Barden (Maroochy River)

Gross runner-up Boys - Alex Nieuwoudt (Gainsborough Greens)

Gross winner Girls – Jazarah Kamu (Meadowbrook)

Gross runner-up Girls - Zoe Weatherhead (Pacific)

Nearest Pin 1st (10th hole) - Madison Humphreys (Wantima)

Nearest Pin 3rd (12th hole) - Lachlan King (Pacific)


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