Strydom powers to victory in Western Province
Rising junior Tristen Strydom lived up to his star billing when he replaced former number one Christiaan Bezuidenhout at the top of the South African Golf Association (SAGA) rankings at the end of last year.
Five months on, the 17-year-old Serengeti golfer will be targeting his former Ekurhuleni stable mate’ rare double in the Western Province Amateur Championship after romping to a five stroke victory at Rondebosch Golf Club on Wednesday.
I put my head down and gunned for the win,” said Strydom. “The wind was blowing a gale and it definitely wasn’t easy out there, but I was really motivated.
“The Western Province Amateur is one of those titles that every amateur wants to own. We were so proud of Christiaan when he won the double in 2013 and defended his stroke play title last year. We are very good mates and I definitely want to follow in his footsteps.”
Strydom lagged two off the pace in the first round and trailed Central Gauteng’s Marco Steyn by four strokes after successive 71s. He moved into contention with yet another 71 in the third round.
As the Cape’s notorious South-easterly raged at 40 kms an hour in the afternoon, the country’s number one amateur was matchless with a three-under-par 69 to triumph on six-under-par 282.
SAGA number two and 2015 Northern Amateur champion Teaghan Gauche from Gauteng North finished in second on one under with rounds of 75-72-67 and 73.
Reigning Gauteng North Stroke Play champion Theunie Bezuidenhout from North West took sole third on even-par and finished one stroke clear of Central Gauteng’s Darin de Smidt and Western Province pair Ian Snyman and Luke Trocado.
Strydom announced his intention with a birdie at the par-five third and a chip-in for eagle at the par-five seventh.
“I started the final round with just one goal in mind and that was to win,” Strydom said. “I made a nice birdie at the third, but it was the chip to save par at the fifth that really got me going.
“I struggled with my swing and a back injury in Argentina, but I started to pick up a little form in Uganda at the Africa Zone VI last week.
“Tee to green I’ve been solid, but the way I putted this week is the best I’ve been on the green in months. I hit just six greens in regulation in the first round, but I only had 23 putts. Over all four rounds, the putter has been on song.”
Strydom notched another birdie at the ninth, but gave two shots back at 14 and 17.
“The tee-shot into the par-three was 210 to the pin and straight into the teeth of the wind,” he said.
“It was one of the toughest holes in the afternoon and I knew I wouldn’t lose a shot to the field on that hole, so I just took my bogey and moved on.
“I drove the hazard at the 17th, but had a decent enough lie to get out and lay up short of the green. It was nice to finish with a three-foot putt for birdie at the 18th, though.”
Strydom will lead a 32-strong field into the Match Play Championship starting tomorrow.
Hole-by-hole scoring is available on the Western Province Golf Union website – click HERE
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.