O’Riley wins despite early setback
Twenty year old Dean O’Riley started the final round of the 72 hole South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship, played at Pearl Valley Golf Estates, near Paarl, with a seven stroke lead. By the time the leading group concluded hole 7, in the final round, the Ekurhuleni amateur had relinquished his lead to Graham van der Merwe, having dropped six shots.
“I was all over the place, it was not pretty,” said O’Riley after his round. He played the front nine in 42, six over par.
Walking to the tenth tee, the number one ranked South African amateur, according to the South African Golf Association Player Rankings, gathered himself and went on to produce the kind of golf he had done earlier in the week. He played the back nine in three under par to finish with a 75, three over par and a 72 hole total of 281, seven under par and win the championship by six shots.
“This is a big win for me,” explained the Lake Club Benoni member after the prize giving. “I came back nicely after my disastrous start.”
Two players finished together in second place, they were Tyrone Ryan (71) and Bryn Flanagan (72) with a total of 287, one under par.
One shot further back were Jared Harvey (71) and Pieter Moolman (75).
Graham van der Merwe (76), who played the front nine in two under par, struggled home scoring 42, six over par, over the back nine. He finished in sixth place on 289, one over par.
Defending champion JG Claassen (73) had a disappointing championship. Speaking after his round he explained that he was going through a phase in his game where the dice is just not falling his way. “I am not playing badly,” he lamented, “just not getting the results which is disappointing. I suppose it is now due to a lack of confidence.”
It was a tough day on the course, not so much from the weather conditions, which produced a wind, gentle in comparison to the kind of south easter that can blow at this time of the year, but because the course was wet and playing long.
The best round of the day belonged to Ruan de Smidt (70), one of only five players to break par.
For final scores, click here