Teenagers Taj Egea and Safina Kyprianou have been crowned The Brisbane Golf Club’s respective 2023 Men’s and Women’s Champions.
The duo – 17-year-old Taj and 15-year-old Safina – are among a throng of outstanding juniors emerging through the BGC ranks, and a reflection on the club’s Junior Academy, and the teaching professionals employed.
Taj, who is the current Greg Norman Junior Masters Champion and a member of the Queensland Junior State team for the past two years, won his match-play final on Sunday, beating Lachlan Jones 8&7 at the 29th of the scheduled 36 holes. Playing from a handicap of plus 2, he had earlier beaten Chase Oberle, Eugene Estella and Isaac Rahmani to qualify for the prestigious final. It was his first final, having joined BGC only last September.
A club member since she was 12, Safina had to fight all the way to finally down defending Champion Aspen Sugars 2&1, also over 36 holes. Playing off a handicap of one, Safina beat Angela Fong and Angelina Drakos on the way to the decider, and finally avenged her loss to Leesa Lambert, in the 2021 final.
A recipient earlier in the year of a ‘Titleist and Stars of the Future’ Scholarship, Safina was a member of the undefeated BGC Pennant this year, which won Silver Division of the Brisbane and District Ladies Golf Association 2023 competition. Safina won each of her four Pennant matches.
Taj described his victory as a great experience, and said he was thrilled to be Champion at a club with such a celebrated history.
“I have been playing really well lately, and was definitely confident about my chances going in to the Championships. Finally getting it done, after four knockout rounds, is a great feeling,” said Taj, who is the reigning Brookwater Junior Champion. He also recently won the Wolston Park Club Championship, where his dad Andrew is Head Pro.
For the home-schooled Safina, her victory at the 35th hole of match-play is the culmination of much hard work.
“We live near the club, and I try to practice almost every day. It is reassuring when the dedication to training brings this result,” she said.
Both Taj and Safina are currently competing in the Queensland Junior Amateur Championships at Nudgee Golf Club, until Friday.
Other 2023 BGC Championship winners were:
Men – Plate, Ash Sturmer; B Grade, Alex Walduck; C Grade, Brian Richardson; Senior, Philip Lynem; Junior, Campbell Kerr; Veterans Matchplay, John Akhurst; Bynsett, James Peel.
Women – B Grade, Jenny Somers; C Grade, Maria Cocolas. – TONY DURKIN