Du Plessis and Boshoff face off at Umhlali

Hennie du Plessis dispatched unheralded Herman Loubser in the semi-final of the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Match Play Championship to reach the 36-hole final at Umhlali Country Club on Friday.

Du Plessis beat the youngster 6 & 4 and will go up against Paul Boshoff from Ekurhuleni, who claimed the biggest scalp of the championship when he downed South African’s number one ranked junior, Jovan Rebula, in the quarter-finals.

Before Du Plessis sent Loubser packing, though, the 14-year-old Boland golfer caused two major upsets of his own when he ousted two of the strongest candidates for the title.

Loubser defeated SA number two, Kyle McClatchie, 3 & 2 in the second round, and handed Stroke Play champion, Tristen Strydom, a 7 & 6 drubbing in the quarter-finals on Friday morning.

The young gun came unstuck, though, against an in-form Du Plessis, who knocked out Altin van der Merwe from Western Province 2 & 1 to reach the semis.

“I knew I would need a fast start against Herman, because he would be confident after his back-to-back wins, and I managed to do just that,” Du Plessis said.

He opened with three successive birdies and a par to go four up on Loubser, who had a double bogey at the opening hole and a bogey at the fourth.

The reigning Kenya Amateur Open champion rallied with a birdie at the 10th after a triple bogey at the par-four ninth to stay four up when Loubser also bogeyed the ninth.

“I knew the pressure was on him to catch me and that I just needed to stay patient and protect my lead,” Du Plessis said. “I didn’t take any unnecessary risks; just played tee to green for pars.”

Both players parred the 11th and 12th, but Loubser bogeyed the 13th and 14th while Du Plessis sealed his victory with pars at both holes.

“After five years on the junior circuit, and too many close calls to count, I really wanted to go all the way this year,” said Du Plessis. “This is one of the last big championships of my junior career and I would really like to nail it this time.”

Boshoff, who shares the number five spot in the South African Golf Association’s Junior Rankings with Van der Merwe, defeated Southern Cape’s Rebula 1-up, before he took care of Juan-Pierre Cooper from Gauteng North with the same result to reach the final.

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