Stone, Kellett advance at Vaal de Grace

Brandon Stone and Scotland’s Ross Kellett were among the first of the early starters to cross the first hurdle in round one of the Sanlam South African Amateur at Vaal de Grace this morning.

It took Stone just 13 holes to eliminate Mpumalanga’s Matt Krause, while Kellett scored a big scalp when he ousted the country’s number two amateur, Ruan de Smidt, at the 18th hole.

Stone and Krause were all square through the first five holes, but the 17-year-old shifted gears to win the next four holes. The pair halved the 10th and Stone birdied 11 and 13 to win the match 6&5.

“I was a little less confident starting this morning than during the qualifier,” admitted Stone.

“I made five straight pars at holes that you could really birdie, but then I just started hitting it a little bit better, a little more confident. As I got my confidence back, I struck the ball better and better and started making some birdies to turn up the heat.”

Stone added that it was good to get that first match out of the way.

“Sometimes you get hung up on the stroke play, so it’s always good when you can win your first match with a convincing win, just to set you up for the matches to come.”

The country’s number one amateur will meet Stephen Pienaar in round two. The Maccauvlei player scored a 2-up win over Clive Palm of Reading Golf Club.

Kellett, one of eight Scotsman who qualified for the match play, survived an up-and-down encounter with De Smidt.

The Scot was one down through three holes, but a run of three birdies from the fourth gave him a 2-up lead through eight holes.

De Smidt won the ninth to cut Kellet’s lead to one, but the Scot held on until the 15th.

“I won the 16th but Ruan birdied the 17th to force the match to the last hole,” said Kellett. “It was a great match and he was a solid opponent. It was a nice change of pace, too, after all the stroke play.”

Kellett’s next opponent will be local favourite Burger Heckroodt, who dispatched Germiston’s Donovan Pearce 3&2.

In a closely fought battle that lasted 22 holes, Haydn Porteous (pictured) holed a clutch putt for birdie at the fourth play-off hole to beat Desne van den Bergh. The 16-year-old will take on Rae Mackie, who won his first round clash against Rae Mackie, who won his match against Douglas Jeffery 3&2.

Early first round results:

Brandon Stone BEAT Matt Krause 6/5

Stephen Pienaar BEAT Clive Palm 2-up

Ross Kellett (SCO) BEAT Ruan de Smidt 1-up

Burger Heckroodt beat Donovan Pearce 3/2

Jean-Claude van Dommelen BEAT Francois Haughton 19th

Armand Scholtz BEAT Shaun Stapleton 3/2

Jacques Kruyswijk BEAT Callum Mowat 2-up

Gert Myburgh BEAT Conway Kunneke 1-up

Haydn Porteous BEAT Desne van den Bergh 22nd

Rae Mackie BEAT Douglas Jeffery 3/2

Scott Gibson (SCO) BEAT Nathan Waghorn 3/2

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