van Wyk finishes runner up in the New Zealand Amateur
For the second time in four days, Nicol van Wyk finished runner up in a New Zealand amateur golf tournament. The 24 year old Durbanville Golf Club and Western Province amateur golfer lost to Matt Jager, of Australia, 6 and 5 in today’s 36 hole match play final of the New Zealand Amateur Championship at the Titirangi Golf Club in Auckland.
It was on Saturday of last week van Wyk finished second, to another Australian Bryden Macpherson, in the 72 hole New Zealand Stroke Play Championship, played at the same venue.
So it was a good week for the South African who despite the commendable performances was a bit disappointed, especially with the outcome of the match play final.
“I played really well today, hit the ball good but my putts would not drop,” said van Wyk after losing the final. “My opponent Matt Jager putted really well and it showed.”
Playing in much the same weather conditions as yesterday, windy cloudy cool and overcast, van Wyk played the first 18 holes in three over par while Jager was two under par. At the halfway stage, of the 36 hole final, Jager was four up on the South African.
It could have been worse. Playing hole 16, van Wyk was 6 holes down. He won the 16th and 17th to pull two back and bring a bit more respectability to the Western Province players status in the match. “I hit a great drive on 18. My second finished about 5 metres from the hole. My birdie putted just lipped out. Had it dropped I would have won three holes in a row. That was the story of my day,” lamented van Wyk.
After lunch van Wyk tried to keep the momentum going. He won the 19th hole to go three down.
The very next hole Matt Jager recorded a birdie to go back to four up. From here on in, the Australian was never in any danger of losing his lead.
The match concluded after the 31st hole, a par 5, which both players birdied.
The two players produced a very high standard of golf in the afternoon. After 13 holes, Jager was five under, thanks to five birdies, while the South African was three under, made up of three birdies. Despite the wind having picked up it was remarkable that neither player dropped a shot.
So van Wyk will now go down in the record books as being the second South African amateur golf to reach the final of the New Zealand Amateur Championship, after Trevor Immelman did the same in 1998.
New Zealand Amateur Championship
Final Match (36 holes)
Titirangi Golf Club, Auckland
Matt Jager (AUS) beat Nicol van Wyk (RSA) 6 and 5