Scots lead the way at Sanlam SA Amateur
The strong Scottish contingent made their presence felt on day one of the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship before lighting and thunder brought a premature close to proceedings at Silver Lakes Golf Estate on Sunday.
Greig Marchbank and Daniel Young set the pace at five-under-par 67, while the Boland’s Johan Germishuys leads the local challenge in the 144-man field at four under 68.
Scotland features prominently in the top 10, with Calum Fyfe and Ewen Ferguson lurking a single stroke adrift on four under.
The 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifier for the Proudfoot Trophy will determine the top 64 players that advance to the Match Play championship.
Young said his course management was pivotal to securing a notable first-round score.
“We’re all playing really well,” said the 23-year-old Craigie Hill golfer who ranks 231st in the world.
“We all get along well and it’s good to see most of the Scots at the top of the board. It was good strategy, I just played smart and hit a lot of good iron shots into the pins you could get at.
“Some holes you just have to hit in to 20 or 25 feet and take pars. It’s not the easiest of golf courses and you can get into trouble pretty easily. So it was just about strategy and execution.
“It was a solid round of golf. I hit a lot of good iron shots and I scrambled well a couple of times when I needed to. I holed a couple of good par-saves just to keep the momentum going.
“There was no wind over the first 12 or 13 holes, but the breeze picked up just as we were coming in and it became a bit tricky.”
Young led at the same stage of the tournament in 2014 and went on to finish second behind South Africa’s Jovan Rebula.
This year, Young is determined to go one step further.
“I think everybody is here to win. I think I got to the quarters last year. I aim to go further, but it could be a long week, so you just have to take it day by day.”
While Young compiled an error-free round, Marchbank rode a rollercoaster over the front nine with three bogies, three birdies and an eagle.
“I was three over after five,” said the 20-year-old Marchbank. “I was just playing terrible really.
“I made birdie on six, but I really got it going when I eagled seven and birdied eight and nine. I was just rolling in a few good putts really.
“I was hitting good putts before that but they weren’t dropping. After that I just played really solidly.”
After the eagle at the par-five seventh, birdies followed on eight and nine. Marchbank claimed another birdie at 14 and set up a 10-foot eagle opportunity when he hit an eight-iron to ten feet at the 18th.
The Thornhill golfer said making into the match play would be a job well done.
“I just want to get into the match play, then do as well as I can. My goal was just to make the match play, so we’ll see how I go tomorrow.
Hopefully more of the same tomorrow and try and knock a few putts in.”
Southern Cape’s Rebula was level par through 12 holes when play was suspended at 16h32 and later called off.
The 2013 Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion kicked off the 2014 season with victory in the Nomads Coastal National Order of Merit at Royal Durban, added the Proudfoot Trophy in February and claimed the Curro SA World International at Langebaan Golf Club in March.
Written by Michael Sherman and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.