Van der Merwe slays Syme at SA Amateur

Altin van der Merwe overcame some early morning nerves and the stifling heat at Hermanus Golf Club on Wednesday, to progress to the quarterfinal of the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship.

The Bellville golfer first finished 1up against SA’s number three ranked amateur, NJ Arnoldi, on Wednesday morning, before going on to claim a 2 & 1 win over Scotland’s Connor Syme in the afternoon.

“I was very stressed, playing against the number three,” said Van Der Merwe who is currently ranked 116th in the country.

“But I just kept it going. I had a few long hole-outs and a couple of 15-metre putts and a chip-in from the bunker. I just kept it together and on the last hole I made the best putt and I won, so it was a big relief,” he added.

As for his afternoon victory over Syme, the 17-year-old explained, “Today he just hit a few bad shots and I took advantage of it, hit some good shots and putted well – that’s how I took the holes.”

Van Der Merwe will take on club mate Gerlou Roux in Thursday morning’s quarterfinal. That’s after Roux’s 4 and 3 win over Jovan Rebula, who took top honours in the qualifying stroke play event earlier in the week.

“Gerlou and I are good friends. We come from the same club. But in a competition I’m going to try my best hopefully keep with him and then maybe get the win – you never know,” said Van Der Merwe.

Defending champion Thriston Lawrence was pushed all the way by Fancourt Country Club’s Tom Watson, with Lawrence eventually taking the win on the 19th hole.

The Nelspruit golfer will come up against Scotland’s Scott Gibson in Thursday’s quarterfinal after Gibson’s 3 and 2 win over Robert Bougas.

Modderfontein’s Marco Steyn beat Jason Viljoen 3 and 1 to set up a quarterfinal clash with Johannesburg’s Louis Taylor, who beat Hendrik du Plessis 3 and 2.

And the other match-up of the morning will be between Scotland’s Daniel Young and Pretoria Country Club’s James du Preez. Young beat Werner Theart 5 and 4 while Du Preez claimed victory over Jamie Savage on the 19th hole.

Issued on behalf of the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship by Michael Vlismas Media.

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