What went down: Checking in from Down Under, Soly is joined by Ben Hotaling in his first full podcast appearance! (Ben is a huge part of what happens on the video side here at No Laying Up – click here for more on Ben, or his debut piece about playing proper links golf)
(3:00) The duo spent the past week embarking on the Asia-Pacific Amateur at Royal Melbourne, where the best amateurs playing within the continent descend upon world-class venues for a chance at a Masters invite and an exemption into The Open Championship. The guys spent the week learning and embracing a quietly covered yet enormously important amateur event – and immediately dive into their immediate impressions, including a deeper appreciation for sandbelt golf.
(14:00) 21-year-old Jasper Stubbs won his first Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in a three-way playoff against Wenyi Ding (2022 U.S. Junior champion) and Sampson Zheng, a senior at Cal. Stubbs had started his day six shots behind Zheng, the overnight leader, and got off to a +2 start through six holes, but made four birdies and went bogey-free after to earn his way into the playoff.
All week, Zheng looked like the player to beat, especially after he shot the amateur composite course record at Royal Melbourne with a 65 – Soly and Ben dive into what they witnessed, including some highlight shots and the atmosphere of a countryman winning it all and his visibly shaken challengers.
(29:00) Soly and Ben open up about some of the players they met of various ages, countries and the culture and elements of the event not often found stateside.
(42:30) Reviewing logistics, setup, routing and how the tournament was run overall. The culture of sandbelt golf is open and friendly but provides a challenge intimidating enough to question your golf game…
(50:00) How did Soly and Ben fare on sandbelt golf? And a preview of their match at the composite course Washed Soly is looking to reclaim his throne of best golfer at NLU against a humble Ben. Video of their match coming soon.
(55:00) What’s the hold-up on fully bringing professional golf down under? Exploring what that could look like. Does it need to happen in the era of a rollback? Money? Think of what a major at Royal Melbourne could look like!
(1:01:00) Some miscellaneous news and notes from the rest of the golf world, including Celine Boutier’s nine-hole playoff victory at the Maybank Championship and Sami Valimaki’s playoff win at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Endeavor is out as a potential investor of the PGA Tour.
Thanks to everyone who followed along on the socials this week. Lots of video content in the works from a great week spent.
Best take: (29:30) I appreciate Soly noting the level of representation these amateur championships – specifically, the APAC, provide. 37 countries were represented in the championships, but not every federation is built equally. There’s a real element of meritocracy in seeking out these players from less established golf countries and platforming them – whether it’s furthering the game internationally, finding a budding rising star, or growing it within their own.
Worst take: KVV wasn’t even on this pod, but he might deserve it for pitting two NLU employees against each other. Kinda toxic. Hello HR! At the same time, that’ll just make the match that much better. So maybe not.
(15:00) “You and I watched a lot of golf this week. I saw almost no made putts.” -Soly
(52:15) “Kinda flippantly in our Slack channel, KVV referred to Ben as being the best golfer at NLU. You are the lowest handicap by almost three shots at this point. And I took that personally, I feel like I’ve held that crown for quite some time…you did nothing wrong, this is directed at KVV, you were caught in the crosshairs.” -Soly
Ads: (1:10) This episode is brought to you by Titleist, the number one ball in golf.
(27:30) Thanks to our friends at Rhoback, which was spotted on-site a few times at the APAC! They’re the stretchiest, softest hoodies in golf – and nothing beats rocking the Q-Zips for an early round of golf. Use code “NLU” for 20 % off your first order on the Rhoback website.