Clarke and Ferreira triumph at the Northern Amateur
The Northern Amateur (previously the Transvaal Amateur) was played last week at the pristine Modderfontien Golf Club and attracted the countries best amateurs proving once again why it has the reputation of being the most highly ranked amateur event in the country after the SA Amateur.
The tournament culminates with a two man, 36-hole final, where the winner is crowned the Northern Amateur Champion. As the championship proceeds towards the final day’s play, subsidiary trophies are played for in the process the prestigious field is narrowed down from its starting 156 to a final 32 who qualify for the Match Play section.
The winner of the subsidiary events gets to hold the Mab’s Abel Trophy for the lowest 36-hole total and the Northern Amateur Stroke Play Trophy for the 72-hole Stroke Play.
The Mab’s Abel Trophy Trophy was shared between Ryan Clarke and Justin Turner of Western Province on a superb total of 137 (7 under par). Ryan Clarke then went on to win his third Stroke Play title of the season by beating fellow Zone VI teammate Dylan Fritelli at the first playoff hole, both finishing on a final 72-hole score of 271 (7 under par) for the Championship.
The Top 32 players qualified for the Match Play on a score of 294 (6 over par where 6 players played off for the last spot) and as usual with Match Play, many of the favorites were eliminated in the early rounds. Among the casualties were Dylan Fritelli (the current SA number 1), who finished runner-up in the Stroke Play section of the event. He went out to Jared Harvey in the first round as did Louis Calitz to Christiaan van der Merwe.
Jacques Blaauw the current SA Amateur and SA Amateur Stroke Play Champion went out in the second round to Johan Bekker of Ekurhuleni while looking fatigued throughout the week (Jacques played 17 rounds of golf in 12 days including practice rounds and tournament rounds through the SA Amateur and Northern Amateur).
The “find” of the tournament was undoubtedly Yubin Jung, a Korean born SA National of 16 years old. Jung, who still mainly concentrates on Junior Golf, eliminated fellow Wanderers member and Ex-National Golf Captain Norman Raad in the first round and followed that up with wins over Jared Harvey, Johan Bekker and Coenie Bester en-route to the final against Derik Ferreira (current SA number 2).
Ferreira came through matches with Johan de Beer, Jake Redman and Johan du Buisson (eventual third place finisher after 18 hole match against Coenie Bester) before meeting up with Jung in the closely contested final.
The first 18 holes of the final saw the match all square and the players, playing nervous golf, both being around 3 over par. The afternoon 18 holes saw the match come alive as the players threw birdies and eagles at each other only to see Derek Ferreira beat Jung 1up while being around 6 under par for the round.
This is the first “major” win for Derik Ferreira after coming close on a few other occasions and it isn’t the last we will see of him or Jung in the near future.