KZN’s Maritz takes control at Magaliespark

KwaZulu-Natal senior Ronnie Maritz tops the B-Section leaderboard in the Indwe Risk Services South African Senior Amateur Stroke Play Championship after an adventurous first round at Magaliespark Country Club on Wednesday.

The 57-year-old from Umhlali Country Club gathered 40 points off an eight handicap under the Individual Stableford format.

Maritz reeled in back-to-back birdies on the front nine and boxed an eagle putt for five points on the home straight to hit the front.

He leads by one point from fellow KZN golfer Brian Olsen and Ed Wallace, who has fellow Ekurhuleni players Louis Jordaan and Martin Saaiman in support on 38 and 37 points respectively.

Maritz hit a nine-iron into the third and drained a five-footer for his first birdie and chipped to four feet at the fourth and nailed the putt for his second.

“It was nice to get the two early birdies, because the breaks on these greens are so tough to read,” Maritz said. “It’s a helluva job just to make par around here.

“The rest of the round was pretty ordinary, I was pleased to get that eagle at the 13th. I hit a great three-wood off the tee and flew a five-wood to 15feet at the par-five. There was a lot of break on the putt, but I got it in the hole and that five really boosted my score.”

Meanwhile Llewellyn Hardenberg and Keith Roman had extra reasons to smile after both Western Province players holed out at par-threes.

Hardenberg, an 11-handicap from Parow Golf Club, collected four points for a career first ace at the 14th.

“I hit a pitching wedge from 115 meters,” explained a delighted Hardenberg.

“The ball pitched on the embankment on the left of the green, rolled down and kept going until it disappeared into the hole.”

Roman recorded his second hole-in-one, also worth four points, at the fifth.

“I had 160 meters to the pin, so I hit a five-iron in and the ball took one bounce, hit the pin and dropped in the hole,” said the nine-handicapper from Cape Peninsula.

“I got my first ace at Peal Valley in 2003, so it’s been a while. Lucky me, because I needed some luck. It’s such a tricky course. Accuracy is key. In certain places, the ball just rolls, so you have to keep savvy around here stay out of trouble.”

As the president of Ekurhuleni Golf Union, Saaiman seldom gets a chance to compete and was thrilled to finish in contention on debut in the prestigious national senior amateur championship.

“I’m usually working at tournaments, so it’s really nice to get the chance to dust off the clubs,” he said.

“I won the Free State Senior Open B-Division in my only other start this season, but I don’t think I’ll be that lucky this week. I have to tell you, my nerves are shot.

“It is such a beautiful course, but these greens are going to kill me. The breaks are so tough to read that you could be out there putting all week.

“Seriously, though, it is such a privilege to be out there competing on a superb golf course in such wonderful weather at this age. We really owe Indwe Risk Services a huge debt of gratitude.”

Click HERE for B-Division Scores

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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