McClatchie conquers in KwaZulu-Natal
Ekurhuleni amateur Kyle McClatchie added to his trophy haul this season after denying local favourite Matt Saulez a home victory in the KwaZulu-Natal Championship the past weekend.
Coming off a maiden win on the IGT Tour, the Golf RSA National Squad member made sure he was tucked in the log-jam of the 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifier and secured his spot in the 32-strong field for the match play stage with a top eight finish at Margate Country Club.
McClatchie defeated KwaZulu-Natal’s Clayton Mansfield 3 & 2 in round one and eliminated another local hope, Tristan Brice, at the 21st hole to advance to the quarter-final.
The Wanna Be A Champions Academy player despatched fellow Ekurhuleni amateur Angus Cole-Ellis 3 & 2 and booked his spot in the final match when he knocked out Western Province junior Luca Filippi at the 20th hole.
Saulez was also in blistering form during his campaign to the final.
He whipped Emilio Pera 6 & 5 in the first round, knocked out Louis Albertse 3 & 2 in round two and handed Graham Fabricius an 8 & 7 thumping to reach the semi-final.
He set a date with McClatchie with a 5 & 4 victory over Jason Broomhead, but on the day, the Durban Country Club stand-out couldn’t hold off the in-form number six, who took the 36-hole match 3 & 2.
“I think the runner-up finish on the Big Easy Tour followed by the win on the IGT Tour gave me a lot of self-belief, especially to keep fighting even when the stakes are down,” said McClatchie, who rose to third in the South African Golf Association Open Amateur Rankings on Monday. “It definitely helped me to pull through in the matches that went into extra holes and against Matt in the final.”
McClatchie was one down through five, but drew level with Saulez when the KZN amateur dropped a shot at the sixth.
“I birdied seven and nine to go 2-up at the turn,” McClatchie said. “We both played really well on the back nine and made of loads of birdies. It was very tight. I won 14 with a birdie to go 3-up, but lost 15 to an eagle from Matt. I birdied 16 and we both birdied 18, so I had a 3-up lead going into the last 18 holes.
“My putter saved me, because the match stayed really tight, but I made the crucial putts to keep the lead. I was dormie up at 16 and closed out the win with a par. It was a very tight final, even if the score doesn’t suggest it. It was great fun going up against Matt in the final. He was a great opponent who gave as good as he got.”
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.