Lawrence leads chase for Sanlam SA Amateur glory
South Africa’s top amateurs head to Hermanus Golf Club this weekend for the start of the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship, and with defending champion Thriston Lawrence in impressive form.
Lawrence, ranked the third best amateur in the country, comes into the country’s premier amateur tournament having just represented South Africa against Scotland in the annual Leopard Trophy at Leopard Creek.
Although the South Africans lost the matches 14-10, Lawrence was unbeaten in the match play singles. The fact that he again excelled in a format of the game that he loves and on a world-class course such as Leopard Creek is a warning to his challengers in Hermanus.
“My golf’s been good the last three months and I’m feeling really good about defending my title. I love match play so I’m really looking forward to the Sanlam SA Amateur. Leopard Creek was good preparation for this,” said Lawrence.
The 17-year-old has never played Hermanus Golf Club before, which is in good condition with some punishing rough as it prepares to host the country’s top amateurs.
But his form alone has him full of confidence for the challenge. Lawrence has won this year in the KwaZulu-Natal Stroke Play Championship. But perhaps more importantly, he’s been far more consistent in 2014, with a fourth-place finish in the Prince’s Grant Amateur and second in the Gauteng North Stroke Play. He was also a key member of the South African Junior team that beat the French in a Test at Serengeti Golf Estate.
“My consistency has been great this year. That’s more important than winning one week and then being nowhere the next.”
A successful defence of his Sanlam SA Amateur title would also be a key confidence boost in terms of Lawrence’s plans for later this year.
“It would be awesome. If you just look at the names on that trophy, to win it back-to-back would be a great honour and a big step in my career. I’m planning on heading to the European Tour Qualifying School at the end of this year. Depending on how that goes, I’ll go to the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in January next year.”
But Lawrence will have the collective might of South African amateur golf chasing him in Hermanus. South African number one Christiaan Bezuidenhout has had a solid year to date with a victory in the Free State Open and a top 10 in the South African Stroke Play in Benoni. Zander Lombard, ranked second in the country, also finished within the top 10 in the SA Stroke Play.
The fourth-ranked NJ Arnoldi started the year with a victory in the prestigious Prince’s Grant Amateur. And Gerlou Roux, who rounds off the country’s top five amateurs, has the experience from his days as a former touring professional to be a major force in match play.
The Sanlam SA Amateur begins on Sunday 23 February with the qualification tournament and finishes on Friday 28 February.
Written and issued on behalf of the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship by Michael Vlismas Media.