Porteous defends SA Stroke Play title

Haydn Porteous became only the third player in the history of the South African Stroke Play Championship to defend his title at the Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort and Spa on Friday.
Porteous closed with a final round of 69 to win by two strokes on 13-under-par 275. Werner Ferreira took second place on 11 under with a final round of 69, and Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti finished third on 10 under with a closing 70.
Porteous joins Dale Hayes (1969 and 1970) and David Suddards (1978 and 1979) as the only players to have defended their national Stroke Play titles.
“It was something I wanted to do, and I’m very proud to have achieved it, and to be named alongside those players as having done it. That’s quite something,” he said.
But it was nevertheless a nervous front nine for the defending champion, who after his bogey on the third was worried that his inability to close out a few tournaments of late was about to haunt him again.
But a run of two birdies and an eagle to the turn took him out in four-under for the round and settled him for the back nine.
“To be honest, the whole front nine was probably one of the ugliest four-unders you’d see,” said Porteous. He was indeed lucky to finish inches within the out-of-bounds markers on the fourth hole and make par there, and then his eagle on the par-five ninth came after he hit drive right into the long grass, hacked it out with a six iron, and then holed out from about 65 metres.
Then on the par-four 15th he stumbled with a double-bogey after finding the right fairway bunker with his drive, taking a sand wedge out for this second, and then hitting his third far right of the green.
But he came home with three straight pars to retain the title.
“It was important for me to defend this title because I’m hoping that by next year I’ll be professional,” said Porteous.
That process has already begun, with Porteous employing caddie Douglas Mthembu, who is a regular on the Sunshine Tour and has worked with Richard Sterne and Trevor Fisher Jnr.
Ferreira was not too dissatisfied with his runners-up finish. The Pretoria golfer can look back on a successful week in which he earned his national colours as a member of the senior team to compete in a test against Scotland at Leopard Creek in March, and was a constant challenger in the Stroke Play, which he led for 36 holes.
“Haydn play really well and deserved to win. I’m just glad that I didn’t throw it away on the final day. I shot 69 under the pressure of a final round, and he went out and won it,” he said.

Click HERE for the final result

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