Strydom signs off in style at Harry Oppenheimer Trophy

Ekurhuleni’s Tristen Strydom claimed his fourth title of the season at the Harry Oppenheimer Trophy at Maccauvlei Golf Club in a nail-biting finale on Thursday after Luke Trocado from Western Province narrowly missed forcing the tournament into a play-off.

The reigning Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play champion carded a one-under-par 71 in the final round and padded his trophy cabinet with a one stroke victory on nine under 279.

Trocado romped home in 67 strokes to share the second with Ekurhuleni’s Stefan Cronje, who closed with a 70.

The big-hitting Strydom carded rounds of 68, 69 and 71 to share the third round lead with Jason Viljoen from Central Gauteng and Ekurhuleni’s Jason Froneman.

He forged into the lead with an opening birdie when Froneman and Viljoen both bogeyed the par-four.

Strydom parred the next two holes, but let the chasing pack back in with bogeys at the fourth and sixth. The young gun showed skill and poise well beyond his 17 years to negate the drops with back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th and marched home with five straight pars.

“I didn’t know I was leading, but I knew Luke was burning up the course,” said Strydom, who drove the ball exceptionally well and missed only seven greens in 72 holes.

“He was closing in fast, but I just kept it simple. I played percentage golf tee to green, and avoided mistakes. It’s great to be in the winner’s circle, especially after I struggled with the putter recently. We’ve got the International Teams next; and it’s great to go into the event on such a high note.”

But Trocado came agonisingly close to taking it to extra holes.

The Boland Amateur Stroke Play winner led the first round with an opening 66, but fell off the pace with further rounds of 71 and 76.

He was level par through four holes after two birdies and two bogeys and turned one under after a four at the par-five seventh.

The 18-year-old Atlantic Beach golfer dropped another shot straight after the turn, but rallied with a birdie at the 13th before he racked up four straight birdies to finish just one shot shy of Strydom.

Third round leader Stefan Cronje lost the advantage with a disappointing 75 in the third round, but the Ekurhuleni amateur recovered some ground with a final round 70 to claim a share of second on 280.

Defending champion Armandt Scholtz closed with a 71 to take fourth on 281, finishing one stroke ahead of Southern Cape’s Jade Buitendag (70), Philip Kruse from Gauteng North (68) and Central Gauteng’s Darin De Smidt, who took lowest round honours with a 66.

279 Tristen Strydom 68 69 71 71
280 Stefan Cronje 69 66 75 70; Luke Trocado 66 71 76 67
281 Armandt Scholtz 71 71 68 71
282 Jade Buitendag 70 73 69 70; Phillip Kruse 68 78 68 68; Darin de Smidt 72 74 70 66
283 Paul Boshoff 69 70 70 74; Ryan Dreyer 70 72 67 74
284 Jason Viljoen 74 68 66 76
285 Hendrikus Stoop 68 70 73 74; Jason Froneman 70 68 70 77; Ludovic Bax 75 72 69 69
286 Aubrey Beckley 70 72 71 73; Meyer Pauw 68 73 71 74
287 Kyle Barker 70 70 76 71; Gareth Clements 75 72 70 70; Andre Nel 73 71 68 75; Teagan Moore 74 72 71 70; Henri van Waart 74 66 75 72; Sean Bradley 75 70 73 69; Ian Snyman 72 71 72 72

To view the full leaderboard and hole-by-hole scoring, click HERE

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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