Ricky joins elite group
NSW junior Ricky Kato joined an elite group of golfers when he won the School Sports Australia Golf Championship in Adelaide recently.
Kato joins Australian stars Geoff Ogilvy and Jason Day as winners of the strokeplay title.
It was Kato’s second successive victory in the 36-hole championship, which was played at Tea Tree Gully golf Club just north of Adelaide.
The NSW team captain carded rounds of 68-70 – four-underpar – to win by three strokes from Queensland’s Kade McBride (65-76) and Victorian James Bannan (70-71).
He is only the second boy to win the championship more than once.
Kato also led the NSW team to vi c t or y in t he matchplay championship played at Murray Bridge, Flagstaff Hill and the Grange golf clubs.
NSW returned a score of 570 – 10 ahead of runners-up South Australia.
In the matchplay, Kato won four of his five matches playing number one in the team.
After the championship, Kato was named captain of the School Sports Australia merit team. Past captains include Ogilvy, Day, Adam Scott and Aaron Baddeley.
Earlier this year the 17-year-old, who attends Balgowlah High School, fi nished fourth in the Australian Junior Championship.
Now he is eying off a scholarship at an American university.
He started playing golf as an eightyear-old and has won move than 50 junior tournaments in NSW.
His long-time coach Shuri YasudaHines said Kato was an accurate ball-striker.
“His swing is really good now, so I am just making sure he keeps good rhythm. We are also spending a lot of time working on his short game and putting.”
A quiet, unassuming youngster, Kato lists South African Retief Goosen as his favourite player.
“I try to be like him because he’s quiet and doesn’t get angry.”
The + 2 marker plays out of Bonnie Doon and Cammeray golf clubs.
Meanwhile, the girls teams’ event was won by Queensland with a score of 611 – 11 clear of runners-up NSW.
Queensland’s Jessica Park fired a course record 67 en route to winning her third consecutive individual girls title. She finished with a 138 total – 10 shots clear of runner-up Annie Choi of Queensland.
Ricky Kato (centre) with the winning NSW team