Delight and heartbreak for BMW SA Open Ammies
Over the last 12 months, the sun has risen over the careers of South Africa’s leading amateurs Marco Steyn, Kyle McClatchie and Jovan Rebula. The trio was among a nine-strong amateur contingent to tee off in this year’s BMW SA Open, proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni, however, two sobering days in the star-studded field left these rising stars with a lot to chew on.
Steyn was set to take as much as possible away from the experience, but was left rueing a double bogey six at the seventh that cost him a spot in the weekend field at Glendower Golf Club.
“To miss the cut by one just shot was gut-wrenching,” said Steyn.
“I was bitterly disappointed, but you have to get over it and move on. This is the career I’ve chosen and I am sure the future will bring much more and worse disappointments. This was the most fantastic golfing experience of my career and I am so thankful that I had this opportunity.
“I went out there today and really enjoyed standing in the crowds on the other side of the ropes just as much. There were some incredible shots out there and it was great to watch without the stress and the pressure of competing.”
McClatchie crafted a magnificent one-under-par 71 to lead the amateur contingent in the first round, but the Serengeti golfer also missed out on the chance to challenge for the Freddie Tait Trophy on Sunday. A bogey at 10 on an otherwise flawless back nine proved one shot too may.
“It looked like Marco and I were in with a shout to make the cut at even-par 144 when the second round was suspended, but the guys who had to finish up on Saturday morning shot the lights out,” he said.
“It was such an honour to tee it up in our national championship. The atmosphere was unbelievable and to have the chance to play at this level was incredible. It was hugely disappointing to miss the cut, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
Rebula, who missed the cut alongside his famous uncle and tournament host Ernie Els, described his experience as ‘pure magic’.
“This was one of the most magical experiences of my life,” the George golfer said. “The course, the hospitality, the atmosphere and the crowds was everything I imagined and more.
“It hits you when you stand on that first tee in the first round and you have to fight the nerves, but then the golf takes over. It hurt to miss the cut, but I wouldn’t have missed this experience for all the money in the world. The chance to play in this championship and the support I got from my family and my friends made this experience even better. We are really thankful to Golf RSA and the South African Golf Association for giving us this unique opportunity to test ourselves on this stage – this was an experience I will treasure forever.”
But perhaps Free State golfer Juran Dreyer said it best.
Having won the Irene qualifier with a 65, Dreyer was stone last after an opening 81 but redeemed himself with a second round 68. “How many highs and lows can you fit into three rounds,” he laughed. “Seriously, though, playing the SA Open definitely put the professional game into perspective for me.
“You had to box smart at this course to avoid trouble at this golf course, but I let the nerves get the better of me in the first round.
“But walking up to the ninth and 18th greens and hearing that crowd roaring for me like I was Rory McIlroy, was unbelievable. I wish I could bottle that feeling forever. This was the experience of a lifetime and you couldn’t put a price tag on what we will have gained from this experience.”
144 Marco Steyn 74 70; Kyle McClatchie 71 73
147 Jovan Rebula 73 74
148 Philip Geerts 75 73
150 Juran Dreyer 81 68; Craig Ross SCO 79 71
151 Theunis Bezuidenhout 74 77
154 Darin de Smidt 75 79
155 Dylan Naidoo 77 78