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Perth amateur Kirsten Rudgeley upstages the pros to win The Athena in Melbourne

It was a quirky finale but Perth amateur Kirsten Rudgeley outclassed some of Australia’s top young professionals to win The Athena title in Melbourne on Sunday.

Rudgeley, the No.1 seed heading into the final day of the WPGA Tour event at Sandy Links – a neighbouring course to Royal Melbourne – fought her way through a series of three-hole matches to meet Sydney’s Grace Kim in the final.

The 20-year-old from Mount Lawley Golf Club found herself one shot down after the first hole but fought back with a brilliant chip at the second to square the match.

After both players parred the third and final hole, a sudden-death putt-off was needed to break the tie.

Rudgeley, who sits 39th on the world women’s amateur rankings, won the five-shot putt-off to upstage Kim and enjoy the spotlight.

“I was just going through my routine and trying to hit the putt that I wanted to,” Rudgeley said.

“Everyone was concentrating on one putt. It was pretty cool.”

While her putting ultimately proved the difference, Rudgeley relied on a brilliant short game to keep her chances alive in the final.

“I can thank Brett Rumford for that one because he helps me out a wee bit,” she said.

“I’d probably say that my short game is my strongest point and it paid off today.”

Rudgeley won last year’s English Amateur title and will travel to the US next month after receiving an invitation to play in the Augusta Women’s Invitational.

Augusta National will host the final round of the tournament.

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