SA trio chase success in Scotland

South Africa’s leading amateur Christiaan Bezuidenhout, recent Lytham Trophy champion Thriston Lawrence and Prince’s Grant Amateur winner NJ Arnoldi will hunt for glory in the Carrick Neil Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship this weekend.

The trio will face a strong local challenge led by the country’s top ranked amateur, Grant Forrest, in the 72-hole event at the Panmure Links in Angus.

The South African trio set off for the United Kingdom at the end of April and competed in three major championships in England, Ireland and Wales in May.

The Scottish Stroke Play marks the final event before the trio meet up with fellow South Africans Zander Lombard, Louis Taylor, SA Stroke Play champion Jason Smith and team manager, Llewellyn van Leeuwen on Sunday.

The SA team will compete in the Andrews Links Trophy from 6 – 8 June. Following a Test against a side from the Scottish Golf Union, the six-pack will line up in the prestigious Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush and Portstewart from 16-21 June.

Bezuidenhout and Arnoldi missed the cut in their debut in the Lytham Trophy at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club in England, where the 17-year-old Lawrence became the first South African to lift the coveted title.

However, Ekurhuleni’s Bezuidenhout rallied with rounds of 75, 71, 75 and 72 at Royal Dublin Golf Club to tie for eighth on five-over-par 293 at the Irish Amateur Open Championship.

The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member finished five shots off the pace from champion Jamie Savage from Scotland. Arnoldi missed the cut, while Lawrence claimed a share of 29th on 14-over-par 302.

A fortnight later, Lawrence from Mpumalanga tied for 11th and Bezuidenhout finished joint 16th in the Welsh Open Stroke Play Championship, while Arnoldi claimed a share of 38th at the Conwy Golf Club on the North Coast of Wales.

During the trip, Lawrence and Arnoldi also used the opportunity to test themselves against the professionals on the Jamega Pro Golf Tour.

Arnoldi claimed a share of ninth at Collingtree Golf Club in England with rounds of 77 and 68. The Ekurhuleni golfer finished eight shots off the pace, while a 77 and 74 saw Lawrence tie for 29th.

The pair also caught up with 2011 Open champion, Darren Clarke, at Royal Portrush.

“Thriston, his dad Stephen and I got to spend some time with Darren and pick his brain a little about the game,” said Arnoldi.

“Meeting him was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career. We had a lot of fun with Darren, who has a great sense of humour, and never objected once to us taking about 100 photos with him.”

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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