Steyn gives chase at Nomads Champs

Marco Steyn, fired an opening 75 at Silver Lakes Golf Estate to finish within striking distance of early leader, Keegan de Lange, at the Nomads National Order of Merit Championship on Tuesday.

Steyn is gunning for back-to-back victories on the national junior circuit after his one stroke triumph at the North and South Championship on Sunday, but the 16-year-old Modderfontein golfer is up against a tough opponent in De Lange.

The reigning Gauteng North Stroke Play champion looked awfully comfortable as he reduced the damage of four bogeys with three birdies to set the first round target at one-over-par 73.

De Lange leads by two from KwaZulu-Natal’s Luke Mayo and Herman Loubser, who is also eyeballing a podium finish after his one shot loss at the recent Nomads SA Boys Under-17 Stroke Play Championship.

Steyn shares fourth with Southern Cape’s Cameron Moralee and Caylum Boom, Therion Nel from Free State and KwaZulu-Natal’s Anuerin Gounden.

De Lange has been struggling since a top five finish at the North West Open in March, but Steyn has enjoyed a rich vein of form since he reached the semi-final of the Sanlam SA Amateur in February.

After a runner-up finish at the Nomads National Order of Merit event at St Francis Links in May, the young gun captured his first provincial Open Amateur title at the ProShop Northern Amateur Stroke Play in June.

More recently he underlined his growing stature when he defeated Moralee in a sudden-death play-off to secure the 2014 SA High School Championship title for TuksSport High School in Bloemfontein and he claimed the top 10 finish at the SA Boys U-17 in Limpopo.

Steyn was off to a solid four par start, but found the water twice at the 14th and walked away with a double bogey at the par-five. He dropped another shot at the 17th, but scrambled superbly from the left greenside bunker for birdie at the 18th for to turn in two over.

He negated a bogey at the first with a birdie at the par-three third and got back to one over with a birdie at the seventh.

“I finished bogey-bogey though, and that cost me a share of the lead,” Steyn said. “I missed the green long and left at the eighth and three-putted the ninth.”

Steyn believes he can win, but has to minimise his mistakes.

Just two days ago, the Gauteng teenager was three off the pace after the first round of the North and South Championship. He trailed in the final round, too, and had to come from behind over the last three holes to overhaul Noel Anderson and Keelan van Wyk for the title.

“I can’t control what the other players will do but I can’t afford any loose shots on Wednesday,” he said. “I need to keep it tight and tidy and I’ve have a chance.”

Golf can be a cruel game and never more so when players cost themselves a disqualification for not knowing the rules.

A total of 11 players received their marching orders for being in contravention of the Local Rules, which states that Drops Zones are not in play for the Nomads National Order of Merit Championship.

Among the casualties were Rupert Kaminski, David Meyers and Burt Gildenhuys, who tied for fourth at the North and South Championship on Sunday.

Leading First Round Scores (top 20)

73 – Keegan de Lange
74 – Herman Loubser, Luke Mayo
75 – Cameron Moralee, Therion Nel, Marco Steyn, Caylum Boon, Anuerin Gounden
76 – Eric Wowor, Altin van der Merwe, Johan Oosthuizen, Vaughn van Deventer, Clifford Thompson, Dylon Jacobs, Slade Pickering
77 – Dean Martin, Juan-Pierre Cooper, Dylan Naidoo
78 – Wade Viljoen, Nicklas van Wyk Jnr, Kyle McClatchie, Garrick Higgo, Wilco Nienaber, Dylan Mostert

Released on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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