Snyman snags Southern Cape Open
Durbanville golfer Ian Snyman edged out Limpopo junior Hennie du Plessis to claim the Southern Cape Open at Mossel Bay Golf Club on Sunday.
The victory came exactly two years after the 19-year-old Province golfer was leading the same event, but was pipped at the post by a birdie finish from Sipho Bujela at George Golf Club.
This time, however, Snyman rode the confidence of podium finishes on the WPGU Premier Amateur Tour at King David, Atlantic Beach and Kuils River to one stroke victory on 10-under-par 278 and joined a growing list of first-time winners this season, including NJ Arnoldi, Keegan de Lange, Jason Smith, Hendrikus Stoop, James du Preez, Burger Heckroodt, Luke Trocado, Tristen Strydom, Gregory Royston and Marco Steyn with his maiden provincial breakthrough.
Snyman was six strokes behind 36-hole leader, Herman Loubser from Boland, after rounds of 69 and 72.
He eagled the par-five second in the third round and reeled in five birdies for a six-under-par 66 to join local favourite, Nicholas Mitchell, in the lead at nine under.
The pair carried a one stroke lead over Loubser and Province rising star, Altin van der Merwe, into the final round.
The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member kept the lead with 10 straight pars, while his closest challengers struggled in the windy conditions.
“The wind began pumping on Sunday afternoon,” Snyman said. “The pins were tucked in impossible spots and because the layout is so open, the wind made the set up even trickier.
“You had to pick your lines to make par and I just focussed on not dropping shots. I finally knocked in a two meter putt at the 11th for birdie. Three holes later, the wrong option cost me a shot, though.
“I hit a solid tee shot at the par-four 14th, but I went with a gap-wedge to the green and the ball came up just short. The ball caught the fringe and bounced about 10 meters back into the fairway and I walked off with a five.”
He managed to cancel the lone drop with a great birdie at the 16th to stay ahead.
“I made a hash of the 16th in the first two rounds, so I changed strategy and went with a five-iron off the tee,” he said. “I hit it straight down the middle of the fairway and hit a gap-wedge just left of the flag. The ball caught the slope perfectly and rolled to about four meters from the pin.
“I got the pace just right and the ball caught the top of the cup and dropped in the cup. I was two shots ahead of Hennie at that stage, but he knocked in a birdie putt at the 18th, so I knew I couldn’t afford another bogey. I just made sure I got my pars at the last two holes.”
Snyman matriculated last year and has been campaigning mainly on the Western Province Premier Amateur Tour while he completes two additional subjects – Biology and Geology – to boost his chances of qualifying for the college circuit in the United States.
“This win was quite unexpected and I am absolutely thrilled,” he said. “The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation recently changed to Adams / Taylormade clubs, so I didn’t have any big expectations.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of time with my coach, Paul Mackenzie, but this was only my second tournament with the new clubs. I felt really comfortable with the clubs, and it’s very gratifying to get that first big win behind you, especially when you’ve put so much time and effort into your game.”
Du Plessis took sole second on 279 with a closing 71, while Mitchel finished in third on 280 with a final round 73. Southern Cape locals Jovan Rebula and Jacques Cloete both returned 73s to share fourth on 282.
TOP 20 RESULTS
278 – Ian Snyman 69 72 66 71
279 – Hendrik du Plessis 70 69 69 71
280 – Nicholas Mitchell 70 70 67 73
282 – Jacques Cloete 70 69 70 73; Jovan Rebula 69 68 72 73
283 – Altin van der Merwe 70 70 68; 75 Nicolaas Arnoldi 67 73 70 73
284 – Keegan de Lange 73 72 67 72
286 – Niel du Preez 73 72 73 68; Herman Loubser 69 66 77 74
For full result and hole-by-hole scores, click here
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.