Blaauw wins SA Stroke Play title

PAARL (8 February 2008) – A birdie on the 72nd hole handed Jacques Blaauw (pictured to the right) the SA Amateur Stroke Play title by a shot over Leon-Brink Knoll at the Pearl Valley Golf Estates on Friday.

“Wow I’m speechless,” said the Bolander, who will have his name engraved on the trophy alongside the likes of Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman and Richard Sterne.

The Paarl Golf Club player carded a three-over-par 75 to finish the tournament on a four-round total of four-over-par 292, one better than Knoll, who also signed for a 75 and a total of 293. A stroke further back was Victor Dubuisson, who shot a final round five-over-par 77 for 294.

“This is really huge for may career,” said a chocked up Blaauw, who began the tournament slowly with a 74, but improved every day, with a 73 in the second round and a tournament-clinching 70 in treacherous conditions on day three. “I started off really badly today, but I knew that four or five over par would win it because the conditions were really tough,” the 21-year-old said.

Blaauw went out in 39 and came back in 36, with a mixed bag of four birdies, three bogeys and two double bogeys.

The Bolander, who attended university in the United States last year, said that having a good knowledge of the local conditions really gave him an edge. “It helped me to stay calm and a lot of friends came to watch me so I’m very grateful.”

Knoll began the tournament with a very good 70, back-peddled with a 76 in round two but positioned himself well for a shot at the title, with a 72 on day three.

“I feel like it’s a good starting block for me,” said a disappointed Knoll, who went around the course in nines of 40 and 35. “I think Jacques really deserves it and I’m glad for him.”

Dubuisson started the tournament in splendid fashion with a 68 on day one, leaving him just a stroke behind first round leader Rae Mackie. After the second round he led on his own after a 73. A 76 in round three had him level with Blaauw going into the final round.

“Jacques played very well. He knows the course well,” said the talented 17-year-old. “This was my first time in the last group so I felt a lot of pressure. I didn’t know exactly what shots to play, but I will be better next time.”

The Frenchman struggled all day, playing the front nine in 40 shots and the back nine in 37.

European champion, Benjamin Hebert finished alone in fourth on twelve-over-par 300, with the group of Dylan Frittelli, Le Riche Ehlers, Steven Ferreira and Stephen Swanepoel tie on fifth with scores of 16-over-par 304.

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