Dreyer keeps control at SA Mid-Am Champs
Second round leader Ryan Dreyer put one hand on the trophy on day three at the South African Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the former number one could add the other if he can keep the pack at bay in Friday’s final round at Sun City.
Joining the early starters at the Gary Player Country Club to complete the suspended second round on Thursday morning, Dreyer parred his way to a two-under-par 70 and opened up a healthy four shot lead over second-placed Almero Theron from Free State.
The 45-year-old Killarney Country Club player bogeyed the tight par four first, but gains at the third, sixth and ninth holes took him to the turn in two under. Dreyer bagged a fourth birdie at 11, but gave back shots at 12, 13 and 18 to card an even-par 72.
Theron closed the gap on Dreyer with birdies at one, three and four, but his assault imploded with an expensive 10 at the par-five ninth and a bogey at 11. The Heron Banks golfer rallied down the back nine and reeled in birdies at 13, 14 and 15 and he boxed one more birdie putt at 17 after a drop at 16 to get his campaign back to three over.
However, matching the leader’s 72 meant Dreyer will start the final round with that cushy four shot lead still intact at one-under-par 215.
Since Dreyer began competing on the mid-amateur circuit, the former professional has racked up 18 top five finishes in 23 starts and he held the number one spot in the rankings for the better part of the 2016 season.
Yet Dreyer refuses to look too far ahead.
“I’ve been in this game for far too long to take anything for granted,” he said. “This course punishes you for bad shots like no other. One bad hole, like the one Almero had at nine, can crush your hopes in the time it takes to wink.
“I’ve played the SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship three times and finished fourth, fourth and third, so of course I want to win, but anyone who has watched a Nedbank Golf Challenge will understand when I say that there is no point thinking about victory or the trophy until you sink the final putt at 18.
“This course is not Sun International’s premier golfing destination for nothing. You have to stay in the moment and you have to play this course shot-for-shot, because that split second you lose focus is when this Grande Dame bites and she bites hard.”
Two-time defending champion Gerlou Roux also navigated the course in 72 strokes, but the Bellville golfer’s chances of scoring a record hat-trick seems slim.
Roux tied for third with Kevin Sharp from Central Gauteng, who carded 74, but the pair lag a distant 11 strokes off the pace. Donovan Pearce from Ekurhuleni and Central Gauteng’s David Muller complete the top five at 11 over 227.
THIRD ROUND SCORES (TOP 20)
215 Ryan Dreyer 73 70 72
219 Almero Theron 73 74 72
226 Gerlou Roux 78 76 72; Kevin Sharp 73 79 74
227 Donovan Pearse 77 79 71; David Muller 75 73 79
228 Dylan Keylock 76 76 76; Elton James 76 75 77
229 Jauqo Jacobs 78 76 75; Derek Scullard 71 80 78
230 Christo Peens 80 78 72; Greg Sheard 75 77 78
233 Ernest Botha 74 77 82
234 Pieter Swartz 75 81 78; Leonard Loxton 75 77 82
235 Neil Homann 75 80 80; Anthony Usmar 74 85 76; Douglas Mc Cabe 73 84 78; Dino De Abreu 72 83 80
236 Shaun le Roux 80 79 77; Michael Holden 74 82 80
Written and released on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.