Double delight for Blaauw in Glacier SA Amateur

Jacques Blaauw the SA Amateur winnerDURBAN (7 March 2008) – Jacques Blaauw claimed a memorable double in amateur golf when he won the Glacier SA Amateur Championship at Royal Durban Golf Club on Friday.

The 22-year-old from Paarl Golf Club added to his victory in last month’s SA Stroke Play Championship with a resounding 6 and 5 win over Welshman Nigel Edwards in Friday’s 36-hole Match Play final.

Blaauw has been in tremendous form of late, also winning the Free State & Northern Cape Amateur.

“It’s been a very good stretch for the last month and a half. I’ve been playing well and am delighted with the win,” he said.

Blaauw was expected to face a strong challenge from Edwards, who is ranked 27th in the world, won the 2006 SA Amateur and is a veteran of four Walker Cups and three Eisenhower Trophy teams.

But the Welshman was suffering from a stomach ailment which clearly affected his game.

“I knew Nigel wasn’t feeling well, but I just wanted to concentrate on my own game. I didn’t play too well and wasn’t satisfied with my game, but I pulled it through. Match play is all about just playing better than your opponent,” said Blaauw.

Blaauw finished the first 18 holes 3up against Edwards. The Boland golfer started well and was 2up through four of the first 18 holes. Edwards reduced that to 1up by winning the fifth hole. But Blaauw won holes nine, ten and 11 to climb to 4up. He remained 4up through 17 holes, before Edwards won the 18th with a birdie after a poor bunker shot from Blaauw.

After the lunch break, Edwards birdied the first two holes of the second 18 to be only 1down. But Blaauw dominated thereafter, winning five out of six holes from the fifth and halving the other.

Edwards pulled one back on the 11th, but he was clearly a spent force and Blaauw sealed the match on the 13th hole.

“I wasn’t surprised when Nigel came back the way he did after lunch because I knew he was a good player. I had it in my mind that he could still come back and beat me. So I just made my pars where I could, he made a couple of bad swings and I won the holes.”

The victory is particularly sweet for Blaauw after he had to return home from attending college at Oklahoma City University last year for a lack of funds.

“There are now a couple of coaches in America looking at me again, but I think I might just stay here because the Eisenhower Trophy is coming up in October and I’m playing really well. I want to get into that side.”

Blaauw also dismissed turning professional any time soon.

“We’re talking about it, but it won’t be before next year December. I’m still young.”

Edwards appeared more disappointed at not making a contest of the final than losing.

“I was up all night the previous night because of my stomach, but it’s no excuse. Jacques played well and I didn’t. I’m just disappointed that it was so scrappy.”

Result of the 36-hole final of the Glacier SA Amateur Championship, played at the par-72 Royal Durban Golf Club on Friday:

Final: Jacques Blaauw (RSA) beat Nigel Edwards (WAL) 6/5.

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