11 SA players tee up in 114th Amateur Championship

Nicol van Wyk, ranked 7th on latest WAGR, carrying SA's hopes of a good performance in this year's 114th Amateur ChampionshipEleven of South Africa’s top amateur golfers tee up in the 114th Amateur Championship starting on Monday (15 June). Amateur golf’s most prestigious championship is taking place over two golf courses, Formby and West Lancashire Golf Clubs, which are situated north of Liverpool, England.

In a field, of 288 players, the South Africans join the world’s best amateurs from all corners of the globe.

“To win this you reach arguably the pinnacle of amateur golf in the world,” said Enver Hassen, President of the South African Golf Association (SAGA).

Two Western Province players are carrying South Africa’s hopes this year. They are 24 year old Nicol van Wyk and 22 year old Adrian Ford, both from Durbanville Golf Club.

Van Wyk, currently ranked 7th on the latest World Amateur Golf Rankings released by the R&A, is one of the highest ranked players participating. He will be looking to carry on where he left off last month; he finished runner up in both the New Zealand Amateur Stroke Play Championship and directly after that runner up in the New Zealand Amateur Championship.

Adrian Ford on the other hand has shown a reasonable degree of consistency in making the 36 hole cut in three of the four tournaments he has teed up in, in the UK, prior to this and in preparation for the Amateur Championship. Ford is currently ranked No 2 on the SAGA’s latest Player Rankings.

The Championship starts with a 36 hole stroke play Qualifying Round. The field is split into two, 144 players will play the Formby Golf Club layout on Monday and the rest of the field West Lancashire Golf Club. They then swop around on Tuesday.

After the conclusion of the Qualifying Round, the leading 64 players and ties compete in the match play stage. Each round will be over 18 holes of the Formby Golf Club with the exception of the final which will be decided on Saturday (20 June) over 36 holes. The winner of the match play will be crowned the 2009 Amateur Champion.

Last year the Amateur Championship was won by Renier Saxon (Netherlands) who has entered again this year. The 21 year old will be attempting to become the first player since Peter McEvoy, in 1978, to successfully defend the title.

Only two South Africans managed to qualify for the match play stages last year, they were Jacques Blaauw and Derik Ferreira. They both lost in the first round. Derik Ferreira will be hoping he can use his experience and go further this time around.

South Africans participating are as follows (the name of the golf club and starting time for Monday is listed in brackets below):
Ryan Clathworty (Formby – 9:17)
Ryan Dreyer (West Lancashire – 14:02)
Derik Ferreira (Formby – 11:18)
Mark Fensham (West Lancashire – 10:34)
Steven Ferreira (Formby – 13:51)
Adrian Ford (Formby – 12:07)
Yubin Jung (West Lancashire – 13:13)
Rae Mackie (West Lancashire – 15:30)
Michael Loppnow (Formby – 13:02)
Jake Redman (West Lancashire – 14:24)
Nicol van Wyk (West Lancashire – 13:35)

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