Porteous claims top 20 at St Andrews Links Trophy

South Africa’s reigning SA Amateur Stroke Play champion Haydn Porteous claimed a top 20 finish at the St Andrews Links Trophy a week after he tied for second at the Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship at Kilmarnock in Barassie.

The 17-year-old Modderfontein golfer got within 11 shots of the overall winner, Daan Huizing of the Netherlands, at the halfway mark, but the last two rounds saw Porteous lose his grip on the top 10 and slide to a share of 17th on Sunday.

After an opening one-over-par 72 at the New Course at St Andrews, Porteous gave a good account of himself at the Old Course at St Andrews and played the last three rounds at the par-72 layout in 68-72-74.

Porteous has a strong Scottish heritage with his father born in Falkirk and living in Dollar until 1974 before emigrating to South Africa. His grandfather was also born and raised in Leven and played his golf at Lundin Links. But as things stood, not even a strong Scottish link would have helped the teenager to catch wire-to-wire winner Huizing.

After his opening 65, the Dutchman simply destroyed any chance of a challenge with a second round eight-under-par 64 at the Old Course. With a 10 shot lead in hand, he carded 68 and 67 in the last two round for a total score of 264 and smashed the tournament record with an astonishing 14-stroke victory margin over runner-up Alan Dunbar from Great Britain.

With this victory, Huizing also became the first player to win the continent’s two most prestigious stroke play titles in the same year, adding the Links Trophy to the Lytham Trophy he won in May.

Meanwhile Limpopo’s CJ du Plessis, the only other South African in the six-man squad touring Scotland, carded rounds of 71-74-80-77 to finish 44th on 302. The country’s leading amateur, Brandon Stone from Gauteng North, claimed a share of 35th on a total score of 293 with rounds of 71-74-80-77.

Next, the Prestwick Links will see the six leading SA amateurs lock horns with six members of the Scottish Golf Union’s (SGU) National Men’s Squad as part of the South African squad’s tour of Scotland. The two six-man teams will meet at the historic first Open Championship venue in Ayrshire for the two-day Test on Wednesday and Thursday, 13 and 14 June.

For the last three years, the SGU National Men’s Squad have travelled to South Africa for their winter training through their sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management and the support of South African businessman Johann Rupert. The two teams have battled it out in an annual competition here in South Africa, but this fourth meeting will be the first time they meet on Scottish soil.

During their recent sojourn to South Africa, the Scots claimed victory at Leopard Creek and the six South Africans will be eager to renew rivalries and seek glory against their counterparts in their own backyard.

The format for the Test Match will see three foursomes and six singles ties on each day. The team that reaches 9.5 points will be victorious.

The South African team includes Porteous, Du Plessis, Drikus Bruyns from Boland, Ekurhuleni’s Gert Myburgh, Southern Cape’s Shaun Smith and JP Strydom from the Western Province while reigning Sanlam SA Amateur Match Play champion Brian Soutar leads the Scottish side, that also includes Adam Dunton, Fraser McKenna, Graeme Robertson, Paul Shields and James White.

Having taken their lead from the Scots, who regularly compete in amateur championships like the SA Amateur Stroke Play and Sanlam SA Amateur Match Play Championships during their winter training, the local side has so far teed it up in the Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship at Barrassie, and the St Andrews Links Trophy at St Andrews. After the Test, the SA squad will tee it up in the British Amateur Championship scheduled for Royal Troon from 18-23 June before returning home.

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