Pienaar stands tall at Sanlam SA Amateur

Maccauvlei’s Stephen Pienaar (pictured) managed the almost unthinkable when he ended the Brandon Stone’s remarkable run the second round of the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship this morning.

The Veereniging player delivered the crushing blow with a textbook par at the 18th hole.

Pienaar was understandably delighted at beating the country’s top ranked amateur, but was quick to admit that it was a topsy-turvy match that could have gone Stone’s way.

“We were both struggling with our putting and we weren’t striking it well either,” he explained. “I was one down through four, but I got it back to all square with a birdie at the fifth. It pretty much stayed that way until I went one up at the 10th.”

Pienaar kept the advantage going with solid pars and a pair of birdies until he clinched the match the final hole.

“I pulled my tee shot and couldn’t up and down for par,” said a devastated Stone. “Stephen fought hard all the way; he got the par and the match and I hope he keeps it going all the way.”

Pienaar said the battle with Stone was good preparation for the humdinger he anticipates against Scotland’s Ross Kellett this afternoon.

“The Scots have been playing exceptional golf so I expect another tough match against Ross. Playing and beating Brandon has really boosted my self-confidence. If I can grind it out the way I did this morning, I’ll be in with a chance.”

The Scots had another strong showing. Of the original 10 entered for the event, eight survived the 36-hole qualifier and the first round, but the visitors saw their numbers were cut to five in the second round – by their own compatriots.

Kellett booked his spot in the top 16 with a 2 and 1 win over Free State player Heckroodt Burger,

SA Stroke Play runner-up David Law scored a 1-up victory over Southern Cape star Riekus Nortje. Greg Paterson eliminated Gauteng North’s Pedrie Oosthuizen 2 and 1 and Jordan Findlay defeated Namibia’s Andre Huysamen three and two.

But for Paul Shields and Michael Stewart, having to play their team mates, it was a tough day at the office.

“It was terrible golf and there were a lot of gimmies,” said Shields, who dispatched Scott Gibson 2 and 1. “We’ve been room mates for the last five weeks, so it was tough. I birdied three and four to go two up, Scotty birdied five and seven to square the match. I birdied eight and 10 and kept it going to win.”

Stewart, the Scottish number one, beat Kris Nicol by the same number.

Young upstart Muzi Nenthunzwi, who survived a pre-qualifier, a 36-hole qualifier and beat Gauteng North’s Jacques van Tonder 2 and 1 in the first round, kept his run going but needed 20 holes to dispatch Royal Johannesburg and Kensington golfer, Stuart Smith.

“The lead changed hands all day but I managed to knock in a 15-footer at the 20th hole to nail it,” said the 21-year-old from Soweto Country Club. He will face Ross Gallaghan, who downed Vincent Scott at the 19th, this afternoon.

And Haydn Porteous, who needed 22 holes to stave off stayed on local player Desne van den Bergh in the first round, beat Rae Mackie 7 and 6 win this morning.

“I wasn’t hitting the ball well, but I was putting well and that helped me grind out the win against Rae,” said the 16-year-old, who will face off to Scotland’s Shields this afternoon. “That match yesterday certainly tested my stamina but it proved to me I’ve got staying power.”

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