30 April 2021 – Central Gauteng’s Ryan Dreyer ticked off the win that had been eluding him for six years when he won the South African Mid-Amateur Championship at Devonvale Golf & Wine Estate by a shot over Christopher van der Merwe.
This may well be the last hurrah on South African soil for Dreyer, who is planning to emigrate in the coming months and has his sights set on returning to the professional ranks by qualifying for the European Senior Tour.
The victory has certainly been a long time coming.
The 48-year-old Eagle Canyon golfer has come agonisingly close to winning the event on four previous occasions, including a playoff loss in 2017.
Dreyer began the day with a two-shot lead over Wingate Park’s Jacques van Tonder, but with winds gusting around the Cape Winelands layout, he knew it required a solid effort to secure victory.
“It’s always hard holding a lead, but I knew that for someone from the chasing pack to catch me, they would have to shoot a low number,” he said. “So I stuck to my game and just played some solid, conservative golf.
“It was only when I looked at the leaderboard on the 16th hole that I realised that my lead was down to one stroke.”
Having found the par-five 17th green in two shots, Dreyer cosied his eagle attempt up to the hole and secured a birdie. The par five 18th hole, where he had made a triple-bogey seven the day before, lay ahead.
“I didn’t have great memories of that hole, so I was relieved when I hit a good tee shot,” he said. “I hit a safe second to the front of the green and I was suddenly quite nervous standing over the putt. Thankfully I was able to two-putt and get the job done.
Dreyer signed for a two-under-par round of 70 to finish on a 54-hole score of seven under, one stroke ahead of Van der Merwe, who fired a final-round 67.
Westlake’s Pietie Loubser placed third on four under, while Erinvale’s Philip Taberer, who opened the tournament with a round of 79, bounced back with rounds of 66 and 68 to claim fourth spot.
Two-time defending champion Derek Scullard finished alone in fifth, the last of the players in red numbers.
Having won the South African Amateur Championship in 2009, Dreyer’s Mid-Amateur win means has completed a unique amateur double. “It means the world to me to get this win, finally. I can’t think of a better way to sign off my amateur career in South Africa.”