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What is the State Junior Pennant and the State Encourage Shield?


The State Junior Pennant and State Encourage Shield have been introduced to provide an opportunity to all Junior Golfers in NSW to participate in a competitive match play team event. Each District Golf Association has the opportunity to enter a team in both events each year, for the chance to become the NSW Champion Junior Match Play Team winners.


In 2009, Jack Newton Junior Golf conducted the first State Encourage Shield event involving the finalists from Sydney and winners from Central Coast and Illawarra Districts. By 2013, there were more than 100 clubs, from 13 districts, involving more than 600 junior boys and girls participating in the knockout rounds and finals. In 2013, the first State Junior Pennant was conducted with 32 clubs from Sydney and 5 Districts participating. 

Year NSW Junior Pennant Winners NSW Encourage Shield Winners
2009   Hurstville
2010   Woolooware
2011   Kareela
2012   Port Macquarie
2013 Central West DGA Concord
2014 Avondale Toukley
2015 Kiama  Bega
2016 Federal Northern Rivers DGA
2017 Bexley GC Moore Park GC
2018 Lower North Coast DGA Moore Park GC
2019 Asquith GC Lynwood CC


Illawarra DGA

Far South Coast DGA

2021 Not held  
2022 Illawarra DGA Cromer


2022 State Junior Pennant Winners Illawarra DGA & State Encourage Shield Winners Cromer GC.

2022 State Final – Horizons Golf Resort – 16th – 17th January 2023

Monday, 16th January

The stage was set for a season finale after an exciting year of club competition, as Horizons Golf Resort played host to the Encourage Shield and Junior Pennant State Finals. Eight teams from around NSW were set to battle it out in a series of matchplay across two days in the Hunter Region. The course had recovered well after a wet season, and with warmer weather over the Christmas period it was in fantastic condition coming into the State Finals.

Two spectacular days were forecast across Port Stephens in what shaped up to be an exciting couple days of golf between talented juniors from across the state.

Encourage Shield

Semi-Final – 1.

Cromer vs Gosford

In the first of the Encourage Shield Semi-Finals, Cromer were too strong for a young Gosford side. The experience of playing in the State Finals will be a confidence boost going forward. The team from Gosford captained by their valiant leader, Sid who rallied his team all the way until the end and showed great sportsmanship throughout the tournament.

Result – Cromer 5 def Gosford 1

Semi-Final -2.

Nelson Bay vs Wollongong

The second Semi-Final followed a similar story to the first. Wollongong GC, with an experienced team were going to be strong force going into the Final. Nelson Bay, like Gosford had a young team who pushed Wollongong in all six matches but were unable to stay with them until the end.

Result - Wollongong 4 def Nelson Bay 2

Tuesday, 17th January

3rd Place Playoff

Nelson Bay vs Gosford

Nelson Bay defeated Gosford in the 3rd place playoff.

Result – Nelson Bay 4 def Gosford 2


Wollongong vs Cromer

It was an evenly poised Final as both Wollongong and Cromer had convincing Semi-Final victories. This was going to be a close encounter on paper, as positions four through to six for Wollongong were giving several shots to Cromer although Wollongong had a talented team. 

At the turn, Wollongong were up in two matches, while Cromer were up in three and the 5th position was all square. It looked as if the 5th position would determine the outcome of this game. Harry Egerton (Wollongong) and Oscar Gee (Cromer) were going to battled it for the crucial point.

Mimi Thomsen and Samarah Gibson remained undefeated for Wollongong and levelled the Final to 2-2. Jack Garrod (Cromer) had Charlie Kerr (Wollongong) at the turn in his match. Kerr forced the match to continue until the 16th hole, while he fought hard to turn the match around, it was Garrod’s early lead that proved to be the decisive factor and claim the point.

As predicted earlier in the day, the 5th position match was going to determine the outcome of the Final. Egerton and Gee were going the distance, and their match looked as if it could go either way. It was the only match to be all square after 9, but after a tense back nine it was Gee from Cromer who managed to clinch the crucial point winning 1up.

Cromer defeated Wollongong 4-2 in the State Encourage Shield Final, and claimed their first State title. It was a debut State Final appearance for the Sydney based club and they managed to overcome a strong Wollongong side.

Result – Cromer 4 def Wollongong 2

Junior Pennant

Semi-Final – 1.

Dubbo vs NSW

After claiming their maiden Sydney Metro title, NSW GC were looking to continue their good form and make another run in the State competition. There were up against Dubbo in their Semi-Final, who have had previous experience in the State Final. Individual matches after nine holes were all close and it was looking like there would be an individual match towards the end that would decide the result. Dubbos no.4, Zac Mears had a sensational round as he pushed Ryan Wu (NSW) and had one of his best rounds with a 4&3 victory. Neither player in the first scratch position were able to pull away at any point throughout the match. As Ella Murray (Dubbo) and Kayun (Mudadana) were evenly matched and shared the points after 18 holes. The result ended up giving Dubbo the crucial half to secure their first place in the Junior Pennant Final.  

Result - Dubbo 3.5 def NSW 2.5

Semi-Final – 2.

Illawarra Region vs Shelly Beach

Despite the result, the second Semi-Final was very close and at the turn it looked either team could come out on top. Sam Cascio’s (Illawarra) dominant performance gave Illawarra an early lead as his drives were like a laser, straight down the fairway all morning. Conor Rigby (Shelly Beach) and Coopar Nianios (Illawarra) went the distance in the other scratch position. The lead changed throughout the match on several occasions but it was Nianios who edged out a close encounter with a 1up victory.

Notable performances to Noah Cowen (Illawarra) and Archie Morris (Shelly Beach) who were up against experienced opponents, and both halved their match.  

Although, most matches either finished on 18 or just before it was Illawarra Region that were going through to the Final and had their sight set on back-to-back State Titles. Individual matches late on went to Illawarra’s players and it was their composure toward the end that helped book them a spot against Dubbo in the Final.

Result – Illawarra Region 5 def Shelly Beach 1.

Tuesday, 17th January

3rd Place Playoff

Shelly Beach vs NSW

Shelly Beach and NSW finished all level after the six matches. The playoff between Finlay Taylor (Shelly Beach) and Lucas Naumovski (NSW) was headed back down the 1st hole. Naumovski’s drive unfortunately found the cart path and it did not put him in great position for his approach. Taylor ended up with a par to win the playoff for Shelly Beach.

Result - Shelly Beach 3 def NSW 3 – Shelly Beach won on the first playoff hole.


Illawarra Region vs Dubbo

After nine holes, Illawarra were up in four matches, although they were only slender leads. Dubbo’s Archie Dickson put together an exceptional back nine as he edged his opponent 3&2 and claimed first points for his team. Sam Cascio (Illawarra) continued his good form to remain undefeated with a victory over Ella Murray (Dubbo) in the first scratch position. The match was 3-2 in favour of Illawarra with one match still to finish. It was the second scratch position match which was going to be the vital game that decided the Junior Pennant Title. Coopar Nianios (Illawarra) 1 up through nine was only needing to half the match for an Illawarra victory.

Nianios, still 1 up going onto the 17th hole was hoping to not let his opponent, Cooper Giddings (Dubbo) back into the match. However, Giddings’ putter lit up on the final stretch sinking a long-range birdie to square the match going onto the 18th. Nianios left the door open for Giddings as his drive swayed right down 18 and he was not in an ideal position. Giddings still needing to win the hole gave himself a great opportunity with a solid approach. With a chance to take the match into a playoff, Giddings sunk another big putt under pressure, with both sides watching from the mound overlooking the 18th green. Back to back birdies for Giddings completely changed the scenario of the match as he helped Dubbo square it 3-3. 

Dubbo opted with Cooper Giddings in the playoff after his red-hot finish and Illawarra selected Sam Cascio who alread had two victories under his belt this tournament. Giddings was considerably longer off the tee than Cascio, although Cascio’s pinpoint iron game would be crucial for giving him a chance to take the win. The pair both had pars on the first hole, and it wasn’t until the second hole where Giddings’ approach shot was short, and the door opened for Cascio. Although his chip probably wasn’t as close as he would have liked, Giddings sunk the first real pressure putt of the playoff saving par with a 10ft to extend the match.

It was not until the 3rd hole when the playoff took a twist. Cascio, like clockwork put himself in prime position on the first par 5. Giddings’ drive was thought to be fine but a mound halfway down the fairway blocked sight of the direction in which his ball headed. There was a cart path that followed the hole along the left side, and it was out of bound on the other side of that path. After several minutes of searching, it was declared lost and Giddings was sent back to the tee. Cascio only needing to lay up and the momentum of the playoff would swing favourably into his hands. An uncharacteristic approach with his 7 iron followed the same line as Giddings’ drive and landed out of bounds.

The pair were back on level terms but the pressure was building as both approach shots fell short of the green. Giddings, after being so resilient all day hit an unfortunate shot into a bush which looked to be unplayable. He decided to play a one handed shot backwards, but pushed the ball further into the bush and had no option but to take an unplayable. Cascio almost went from bunker to bunker but from a difficult position with almost no stance gave himself a putt to putt to win. An impressive recovery from Giddings over the bunker gave himself a chance to square the hole after Cascio missed his putt to win and was given a 2ft putt. It was not the finish Giddings had hoped for, pulling his putt left and ending the playoff. Sam Cascio won on the third hole of the playoff and Illawarra were State Junior Pennant Champions. 

After some remarkable golf over both days, it was probably not the end to a playoff either boys will want to remember. Both players can hold their head up high, as it takes great courage to lead your team in a State Final playoff.

Congratulations to both teams for an exciting Final.

Result – Illawarra Region 3 def Dubbo 3 – Illawarra won on the third playoff hole.


Junior Pennant Format - Team of 6 – 2 scratch and 4 handicap match play – boys and girls. Boys Maximum Handicap - 27 Girls Maximum Handicap - 36

Encourage Shield Format - Team of 6 – all handicap match play – boys and girls. Boys Handicap Range is 7 to 27 Girls Handicap Range is 7 to 36

Common Conditions - Age is under 18 as at 1st day of the DGA event, or as at 1st January in that Year. No caddies allowed. Distance measuring devices are allowed.

Region 1 - Sydney Metropolitan

Region 2 – Northern NSW – New England, Northern Rivers, North West, Mid North Coast, Central North, Lower North Coast

Region 3 – Southern NSW – Murray, Riverina, ACT Monaro, Illawarra, Far South Coast, Western Riverina, South West

Region 4 – Central NSW – Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Central Western, Western, Lachlan Valley, Hunter River, Newcastle

One team from each Region will progress to the State Finals after a Knock Out series. DGA event winner qualifies for either JP or ES. DGA may select a team to enter the other event. If there is no DGA event the DGA may select a team to represent in either or both events. Note:- If the DGA event winner has a player below handicap of 7 during their event, that player is still eligible for the state ES event. If there are two or more players under 7 handicap, the team must enter the state JP event.




If you require further information please contact Ed Penrose on 0405 695 034 or