May success for SAGA champions
Mpumalanga’s Thriston Lawrence became the first South African to lift the prestigious Lytham Trophy in the 50th edition of the prestigious English amateur championship.
The 17-year-old Nelspruit golfer carded rounds of 72, 69, 72 and 68 at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in England to edge out Dutchman Darius van Driel by one shot on one-over-par 281.
The two-time Sanlam SA Amateur champion broke into the top 80 on the World Amateur Golf Rankings following his triumph.
Meanwhile former number one Zander Lombard ended a year-long winning drought when he lifted the KwaZulu-Natal Stroke Play Championship title at Selborne Country Club.
Twelve months after he defeated Haydn Porteous for the KZN Match Play title, the 19-year-old Woodhill golfer shot rounds of 71 and 67 to claim the Stroke Play Championship by three strokes from fellow Pretoria golfer, Philip Kruse.
The current SAGA number two reeled in a clutch of top five finishes this season and was thrilled to be back in the winner’s circle.
“I haven’t won, but I maintained my ranking and had a number close calls,” said Lombard. “I have been working on a number of things with my coach, Llewellyn van Leeuwen, and I knew I just needed to stay patient and it would come together. I’m glad the work paid off and the last couple of events have been great preparation for my upcoming trips to the United Kingdom and the USA.”
Over the last few years, Graeme Watson had to settle for fourth, third and second in the Volvo SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship. This May, however, the 47-year-old Ekurhuleni golfer finally broke through to claim the flagship mid-amateur event by four strokes at Ruimsig Country Club.
The former top SA Mid-Amateur carded rounds of 70, 71, 70 and 73 to celebrate victory with a winning score of four-under-par 284.
The feat lifted Watson to fourth in the SAGA Mid-Amateur rankings, ensuring his selection to the four-man team that will represent South Africa at the International Team Mid-Amateur Championship in France in July.
Melette Hendrikse, who won the Gauteng North Senior Open in January and claimed top 10 finishes at the Senior Players Championship and Senior Cape Winelands, sealed his position at the top of the SAGA Senior Rankings with his second victory this season in the Vaal Senior Open.
The former professional edged out fellow Akasia Country Club player, Ben Kleynhans, by one shot with rounds of 70 and 72 at Maccauvlei.
Paul Boshoff rose to prominence in April when he defeated Hennie du Plessis to lift the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Match Play Championship title at Umhlali Golf Club.
Barely a month later, Boshoff carded rounds of 74, 72 and 70 to beat Marco Steyn by two shots for the Nomads Coastal Order of Merit tournament title at St Francis Links.
The victory propelled the 17-year-old Ekurhuleni golfer to fourth in the current SAGA Junior Rankings.
Reigning Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play champion Tristen Strydom underlined his growing stature when he defeated Teaghan Gauche 3 & 2 to capture the KwaZulu-Natal Amateur Championship.
On the road to the final, the 17-year-old Strydom beat Shalan Govender 4 & 3 in the first round, downed Philip Kruse 3 & 1 in round two, defeated Nishalin 3 & 2 in the quarter-finals and got past Basil Wright at the 19th hole of a tightly-fought semi-final battle.
The victory vaulted the Ekurhuleni golfer to eighth in the current SAGA Open Amateur rankings.
KwaZulu-Natal’s Gregory Royston followed NJ Arnoldi, Keegan de Lange, Jason Smith, Hendrikus Stoop, James du Preez and Luke Trocado on to the 2014 first-time winner’s list when he broke through at the Border Stroke Play Championship.
Royston carded rounds of 74 and 72 and lagged two shots behind Allan Lones from East London Golf Club. A final round 72 had him but dead-locked with Lombard on two-over-par 218.
Unfortunately, the Woodhill golfer had placed an extra club in his bag after play and forgot to remove it before the ensuing play-off. His disqualification put Royston in the winner’s circle.
Royston’s victory came on the back of three top 10 finishes and vaulted the Cotswold Downs player to 12th in the current SAGA Open Amateur rankings.
In other highlights this month, South Africa’s top juniors clinched the country’s 16th consecutive victory at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Zambia, Central Gauteng defeated the SAGA Juniors to claim the Challenge Cup Teams Tournament at Cullinan Golf Club, Boland won the A-Division at the South African Country Districts, while Border snagged promotion by winning the B-Section at the Fish River Sun Country Club.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.