Stone edges ahead of Harvey at SA Open

Brandon Stone and Jared Harvey will go head-to-head in the battle for the Freddie Taite Cup presented to the leading amateur when the final round of South African Open Championship tees off on Sunday.

Stone, the country’s number one ranked amateur, who just made it to the weekend with Harvey when the cut fell on two under 142, claimed a slender one lead over his fellow amateur when he signed off on a two-under-par 70. Stone launched for the lower echelons on the leaderboard to a tie for 38th on four-under-par 212.

Harvey, who started with three birdies on the trot and turned in 32, lost his footing over the home stretch and came home in 71 to tie for 43rd on 213.

Stone, who trails third round leader Hennie Otto by 10 shots, said he hopes his putter finally warms up over the last 18 holes.

“It’s been 54 very frustrating holes,” said the 18-year-old from The Els Club Copperleaf. “I’ve been hitting the ball absolutely superbly, both off the tee and into the greens, but I’m just not converting for points. In the last three days I’ve missed just five fairways but when you look my putting stats, you can see where the problem lies.

The 18-year-old from The Els Club Copperleaf had three rounds with 33 putts successively and is desperate to get the short stick going.

“I’m going to spend a lot of time on the putting green working on stroke and rhythm because I simply have to get some putts to drop.”

Stone, who will be leaving for the United States to take up a golf scholarship now that he has completed his final year, said that winning the Freddie Tait Cup is an enormous honour for any amateur.

“It’s a big dream of mine. I had a couple of goals this year; some I made but some I missed out on, like winning the SA Amateur and SA Amateur Stroke Play.

“I would dearly like to add my name on that trophy. The who’s who in South African golf has lifted the Freddy Tait and to add my name to the list of previous winners will be a dream come true.”

Harvey is playing the final round in the company of David Hewan but Stone could have a little advantage over his rival, playing with professional Brandon Grace. The Knysna pro won the Freddie Tait at the South African Open Championship at Humewood in 2007.

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