Jeneath starts new year with victory at prestigious event

PETALING JAYA: There’s just no stopping Jeneath Wong.

The 17-year-old, fresh from her victory at the Sandbelt Invitational last month, got her 2022 campaign off to a best possible start by winning the prestigious Australian Master of the Amateurs championships at the Victoria Golf Club on Friday.

Jeneath, who is based in Melbourne, was simply in a class of her own as she cruised to a seven-shot victory over second-placed Belinda Ji of Australia.

Jeneath impressed with three rounds of 70s, except on the third day where she signed off with a 74, to finish on four-under 284.

She became the second Malaysian to secure the coveted ‘Green Jacket’, akin to the one awarded to the US Masters winner, after Alyaa Abdulghany wore it in 2020.

Jeneath said winning the event of such stature would stand her in a good stead when she moves to the United States in mid-2023 to study and play collegiate golf.

Jeneath has signed for California-based Pepperdine University.

“It was a really good experience playing at this exclusive tournament along with the top amateurs,” Jeneath told Golf Australia.

“Since I’m going to college next year, I think it will be really good practice playing really high, top golf.”

She is the second consecutive Pepperdine-bound player to win the Australian Master of the Amateurs.

Last year, Lion Higo, now a freshman at Pepperdine, won the women’s division with a two-under score of 286.

It was Jeneath’s fourth appearance in the event, billed as the No. 1 amateur event in Australia and top 10 in the world.

The men’s event started in 1997 and it has seen the participation of some top golfers such as Americans Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler and England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

The women’s event was only added in 2018.

After coming in 17th on her debut in 2019, Jeneath went on to improve on her position each year, finishing 11th in 2020 and fourth last year.

Jeneath is certainly living up to her credentials as one of the rising golf stars Down Under in recent years, having amassed nine titles to date.