Driving ahead with careers

Published 1:30pm 4 December 2023

Driving ahead with careers
Words by Nick Crockford

On the eve of the seventh Cameron Smith Junior Classic, we take a look at the remarkable successes - in Australia and overseas - of past CSJC winners.

There have been victories in the US, winning the Australian Order of Merit and one of the most remarkable rounds in history!

And more than 200 players will be hoping to join these rising starts on the CSJC roll of honour at Wantima Country Club, in Brendale, on Thursday and Friday.

Driving ahead with careers
Justice Bosio with her Cameron Smith Junior Classic winner's trophy.

Justice Bosio (Caboolture Golf Club) - Won the 2020 CSJC Girls’ title and is now one of Australia’s top golfing prospects.

At the Australian Open, Bosio shot a four-under par, second round 69 on Friday to sit in the top five, but had to withdraw before the final round due to illness.

A member of Golf Australia's High Performance squad, Bosio told Golf Australia she plans a "big year of travel" in 2024 and then join the LPGA Tour school.

The 19-year-old has taken the Australian Women’s Order of Merit for the last two years and is 68th in the women’s world amateur rankings.

Bosio was invited to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship in the US, just missing the cut.

She was runner-up in the 2022 and 2023 Australian Amateur Championship and helped Australia to 17th at the World Amateur Team Championship.

In 2020 Bosio was the first female winner of the Keperra Bowl and won the title again last month, followed by the South Australian Women's Amateur.

Those successes were part of eight top 10 finishes in nine Australian events this year, including the Australian Amateur back in January.

Tyler Duncan (Redcliffe Golf Club) - Was the first CSJC Boys’ winner in 2017 and has been the talk of the sport recently.

The 21-year-old shot a remarkable 13-under-par round of 57 at Nudgee Golf Club earlier this month in a Bulka-Medley Multi Tee Single tournament.

Accepting a late invitation to play, the 21-year-old’s round included three eagles, six birdies, pars on the last three holes and a putt on the first “lipping out”.

Duncan finished tied fourth in the Masters of the Amateurs tournament this year and is 37th on the Australian Men’s Order of Merit.

He spent a scholarship week with Cameron Smith in Florida playing at the famous TPC Sawgrass course, home of the “fifth major” The Players Championship.

Duncan said in a recent radio interview he may be considering a professional career, possibly starting next year.

Kirra St-Laurent with her framed and signed Cameron Smith shirt last year.

Kirra St-Laurent (Hope Island) - Winner of the 2022 CSJC Girls’ title, St-Laurent has been making news in France.

The teenager has competed in Europe for six months and landed her first victory at the Grand Prix De Seignosse, in Biarritz in July.

Competing as an under 16 player, St-Laurent shot a third round 67 for a three-round total of 222 and victory by three shots.

It followed fifth place in the Grand Prix du Cap d’Agde and sixth at the European Young Masters in Slovakia.

St Laurent’s most recent European outing was 14th at the French National Under16-18 Championships.

Kortni Houston (Lakelands Country Club, WA) – The 2019 CSJC girls’ winner, who said winning at Wantima was "the best day”, is now in West Australia.

This year the 13-year-old made the WA Junior squad, won the Mt Lawley Division One Pennant team event and is the Lakeland Ladies Club Champion.

She also beat the 2021 and 2022 champions at the WA Amateur Matchplay in March – the latter in a play-off at the first hole - and is currently 44th on the Australian Women’s Order of Merit.

Houston won the 2022 Rockingham Junior Bowl and Salver with a gross 71 and was nett winner at the Bowra and O’Dea Women’s Classic, her first 72-hole event.

Before moving, she won the 2021 overall stableford in the Queensland Junior Point Series, the Mixed Foursomes and was at the Gold Coast Academy of Sport.

Harry Takis, the Classic boys winner in 2020.

Harry Takis (Virginia Golf Club) - Won the 2020 CSJC Boys’ tournament and is reportedly looking to take up a university scholarship in the US next year.

Takis won the International Junior Masters – the oldest junior invitational in North America – this year with two rounds of 69.

He was also 33rd in the US Junior Amateur Championship with a two-round total of 144.His best results on home soil were tied second in the Riversdale Cup in Victoria, tied eighth in the Pacific Harbour Amateur and tied ninth in the Queensland Men’s Amateur (matchplay).

Last year Takis took the 16-17 years title at the Gary Player Classic by two shots and won the Wayne Grady Cup after missing the 2021 season due to injury.

He has also topped the Australian rankings for his age group.

Haruhi Nakatani after winning the A Grade Girls' overall title in 2021

Haruhi Nakatani (Surfers Paradise) - The sister of Manato followed her victory in the 2021 CSJC Girls’ event with a superb 2022 season which saw the Coolangatta and Tweed Heads member top the Queensland Girls Amateur Order of Merit.

Haruhi had just five finishes outside the top 10 in a run of 18 events including winning the Tasmania Junior Masters, Queensland Girls Amateur, South Pacific Ladies Open and Greg Norman Junior Masters, matching her brother’s achievement.

This year has seen victory in the NSW Amateur Championship and fifth place at the Keperra Bowl.

Haruhi is 24th on the Australian Women’s Order of Merit and 22nd on the Australian Girls’ Order of Merit after two seconds and a fifth place in three junior events.

Driving ahead with careers
Manato Nakatani with his trophy for winning the boys' overall title in 2021

Manato Nakatani - Won the 2021 CSJC Boys’ title and this year crossed the Pacific to study and play at the University of Maryland.

Manato started playing in the UK, moved to Australia, is a member of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads and has won a slew of competitions.

They include the 2020 Greg Norman Junior Masters; 2021 Sunshine Coast Junior Masters and Northern Territory Classic and 2022 Bobby Locke Junior Classic and Pacific Junior Classic.

In August Manato tied fifth at the Pacific Harbour Amateur and last month was 30th at TPC Wisconsin Individual in the US.

Andrew Park, back row far right, with the 2019 Cameron Smith Junior Classic winners.

Andrew Park (Southport) - The 2019 CSJC Boys’ winner, has been building on his success at Wantima Country Club.

This year Park won the Adidas Golf Junior 6s Tour event in Newcastle. In the US he took second at the USW Fall Invitational and seventh in the Waco River Classic.

Park is currently 25th on the Australian Boys Order of Merit. In three junior events this year he has tied third and tied in fifth twice.

Last year he was runner-up to Harry Takis in the 18-20 years division of the Gary Player Classic, thanks to a birdie on the last hole, edging out Manato Nakatani.

Lion Higo - Winner of the first CSJC Girls’ title in 2017, is now starring at Pepperdine University, in Los Angeles, on the women’s golf roster.

In three seasons she has had two wins, 10 top-10 finishes and 18 top-20 finishes in 29 tournaments.

This year, Higo was ranked six in the all-time Pepperdine golf records having twice made the All-WCC (West Coast Conference) first team.

Before going State-side, she won the 2021 Australian Master of the Amateurs and in 2020 the Queensland Women’s Amateur title while finishing sixth at the Australian Women’s Amateur.

Higo - pictured below, back row second left, with Pepperdine team-mates - was in the Queensland Girls’ team 2017-20 and the state women’s team in 2019. Now majoring in sports medicine, Higo’s golfing dream is to play on the LPGA Tour.

Driving ahead with careers
Wesley Hinton receiving his awards last year from Cameron Smith

Wesley Hinton (Keperra Golf Club) - Will be back at Wantima Country Club this week to defend his 2022 CSJC Boys’ crown.

It capped a fine 2022 for the teenager who won the Queensland's Men's Foursomes Championship for amateurs, with Alfie Ward from Maroochy River.

He was also the first junior to win a club championship at a metropolitan club when landing the Keperra Club A Grade title by two shots.

This year he led the Australian Junior Amateur Championships in Hobart at halfway before dropping back to sixth.

Hinton is currently seventh in the Australian Boys' Order of Merit and has said he hopes to turn professional one day.

Driving ahead with careers
Chloe Nam after winning the Jump Tour event in 2021.

Chloe Nam – the 2018 CSJC Girls’ winner, recorded her first professional win in 2021 lifting a KLPGA Jump Tour (South Korean third tier) event.

She won by two strokes after rounds of 67 and 65 and a 12-under-par total, moving from tied fourth overnight to top spot.

That gave Nam full professional status, as a KLPGA member, in 2022 and this year was a full tour member of the Dream Tour (second tier).

She had a sponsor invitation to play the Main Tour (first tier) last year, made the cut and has full playing status for the Dream Tour again in 2024.

Nam came to the Gold Coast in 2014 to study at St Stephen's College and joined the ANK High-Performance Junior Program.

Among many tournament wins was the 2021 Australian Junior Age Championship by seven shots.

Nam returns to train at the ANK Academy in her off-season (Australian summer) and is due back again for four weeks in January.

Driving ahead with careers
Mitchell Hennessy receiving his award from Cameron Smith in 2018

Mitchell Hennessy - won the CSJC boys' title in 2018 and played for another two months before taking up a golf operations position at Meadowbrook Golf Club, while studying full-time at the University of Queensland.

Mitchell said it enabled him to "continue my passion for the game and create many lifelong connections with colleagues, PGA Professionals and members". 

He graduated from UQ after four years and is now an auditor for Grant Thornton in Brisbane and studying to be a chartered accountant.

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