6 April 2022 – Just days after Aldrich Potgieter rewrote the record books with a stunning 20-shot victory in the Nomads South African Boys Under-19 Stroke Play Championship, the rising star from Southern Cape made more history with his Match Play triumph at Royal Cape Golf Club.
On yet another testing day in the Mother City, the 17-year-old Pinnacle Point golfer defeated Randpark’s Johan Bredenkamp 8 & 7 to win the 36-hole final and claim the coveted double.
With the win, Potgieter became only the fifth junior to achieve the Nomads SA Boys U-19 double, following Richard Sterne (1999), Dylan Frittelli (2008), Zander Gous (2013) and Jayden Schaper (2015) to accomplish this rare feat since the event launched in 1963.
“It feels amazing,” said Potgieter. “The long walk back from the 11th green gave me the chance to reflect on what the wins mean to me, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been the perfect start to the year.”
It certainly was a standout performance from the Pinnacle Point golfer in just his fourth appearance on the national GolfRSA circuit.
The Potgieter family emigrated to Perth, Australia, when he was eight, but decided to return to the country of his birth last year, settling in Mossel Bay, where Potgieter was inducted into Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy.
In three short months, he has already racked up three GolfRSA amateur titles in three months and also turned a few heads in the African Amateur Championship in February, where his third-place finish included a round of 66 at Leopard Creek that included no fewer than 11 birdies.
Earlier in the week, Potgieter blew the field away with rounds of 69, 66, 66 and 65 in challenging conditions to win the stroke play qualifier with a score of 22 under par.
Potgieter was tested in the match play stage, but he produced par saves and birdies at crucial moments to prevail over Jan Stals van Rooyen (3 & 2) in the first round, Morris Schiefer (1-up) in round two, Marno Lange (3 & 2) in the quarter-final and Dylan Mellville (4 & 2) to reach the final.
Demonstrating great shot-making ability in the strong south-easterly wind, Potgieter got the final off to a strong start, taking a 3-up lead after six holes.
Bredenkamp fought back with winning birdies at the seventh and eighth holes, but Potgieter’s affinity for the Royal Cape back nine, where he racked up another four birdies, saw him complete the first 18 holes with a 4-up lead.
Wins on the 19th, 22nd and 24th holes saw Potgieter press home his dominance and by the 29th hole, where both players made par, it was all over.
For Bredenkamp, who has an unusual reverse grip, the runner up finish represented a successful maiden national event.
“It was a very good week and I’m happy with how I played,” said Bredenkamp. “Aldrich played exceptionally well this week, he’s a quality player and well done to him. I’ll be playing plenty more GolfRSA events, so hopefully next time I can get the job done and hold the trophy at the end of the week.”
Potgieter put much of his recent coastal success down to his ability to play in the wind.
“Coming from Perth, which is one of the windiest cities in the world, I guess I’ve had to learn how to play in the wind,” he said. “Now we are living at Pinnacle Point and the wind blows there too, so I’m definitely comfortable playing in breezy conditions.”
He also had the help of GolfRSA National Squad member Sam Simpson, who caddied for him in the final.
“Sam is a member at Royal Cape, so it was a big help to have him on the bag,” Potgieter said. “He walked me through the course during the practice round, and in the final, he helped me with reads on the greens. Sam’s a great golfer himself, so it was nice to be able to talk various shots through with him.”
With wins in his last three junior events, Potgieter has vaulted to the top of the GolfRSA U-19 rankings and is targeting a call up to the Junior Presidents Cup team later this year.