Stoop swoops and claims EP Stroke Play
Gauteng North’s Hendrikus Stoop might want to consider buying some real estate in the Eastern Cape after claiming his second provincial title this season in this region.
Seven months after Stoop stepped into the winner’s circle at the EP Border Srixon / Cleveland Stroke Play Championship at Port Elizabeth Golf Club for the first time, he claimed his second provincial title at the Eastern Province Srixon / Cleveland Stroke Play on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Centurion golfer braved a two-to-three club wind and intermittent rain at the magnificent Humewood Links on Saturday and posted rounds of 71 and 74 to finish four strokes behind local favourite, Sieg Human. He erased the deficit with a five-under-par 67 in the final round and claim a two stroke victory over Southern Cape’s Jade Buitendag.
“I guess I’m two for two in the Eastern Cape now,” said the TuksSport Golf Academy player.
“The great thing about this win is that I jumped from eighth to sixth in the Open Amateur rankings, so I am another step closer to qualifying for South African Open Championship at Glendower.
“Sieg had a four stroke lead and I didn’t think he could lose. To be honest, I was really playing for a second or third place through the first nine holes, so this is a really great result for me.”
Stoop began his assault with a pair of birdies at the fourth and fifth holes. After Human bogeyed the ninth and 10th holes, he overhauled the 36-hole pacesetter with back-to-back birdies at the eighth and ninth holes to take pole position.
Although he bogeyed the 12th after his tee shot caught the lip of a fairway bunker, Stoop rallied with a birdie at the next hole to keep control.
“I think that was the first time I came up for air,” the Gauteng North golfer said. “I knocked in par-putts up to the 18th, but my wariness caught up with me on the green.
“I finished on below the slope and had a very long putt that broke left to right first, then right to left. I got it through the first break on line, but it stopped four feet short of the hole. I didn’t hit the second putt hard enough and it slam on the brakes right on the edge of the hole. One more roll and it would’ve been a par.”
The bogey was good enough, though, to guarantee Stoop’s podium finish on four under 212.
“One of my goals was to qualify for the SA Open next year,” he said. “I’ve always dreamt of playing in the SA Open. If I can keep this consistency going and take a couple of top five finishes in the next couple of tournaments, I might just make the field in January.
“It’s good to win another big one. I think you always wonder if your breakthrough win was a fluke, but I know I didn’t just get lucky in Port Elizabeth. I really had to work for this one and I did it.”
Former Border player Buitendag carded rounds of 71 and 74 and closed with a 69 to take sole second.
Western Province’s Gerlou Roux finished in third on 215 with rounds of 71, 75 and 69, while Human and fellow Eastern Province golfer, Mzuyanda Zingela, shared fourth on even-par 216.
Human followed rounds of 73 and 68 with a 75 in the final round to tie Zingela, who chipped away at a costly first round 77 with subsequent rounds of 71 and 68.
To view the full results, click HERE
PHOTO – Gauteng North’s Hendrikus Stoop claimed a two stroke victory in the Eastern Province Srixon / Cleveland Stroke Play at Humewood Golf Club; credit EPGU.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.