When it comes to winning, no-one in South Africa’s amateur golfing fraternity can hold a candle to Wilco Nienaber this season.
The 17-year-old Free State junior scored some valuable world amateur golf ranking points with his ninth visit to the winner’s circle in the weather-reduced Liberty GNGU Silver Salver, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, at Irene Country Club on Sunday.
The Bloemfontein golfer won by two points, in spite of a rather average start.
“I scored four points in the Modified Stableford format in the first round and trailed by eight points, but six points in the second round got me within five of Daniel Nduva from Kenya,” Nienaber said. “I racked up eight birdies in the third round, worth 16 points, to take the lead on 22 points.”
Nienaber headed into the final round with a two point lead over South Africa’s top ranked Jayden Schaper. Nduva was four points off the pace in a tie for third with Ruhan van Dijk (who had his first hole in one in round 3 on the 16th hole) from Ekurhuleni and Gauteng North’s James du Preez.
“A huge lightning storm was just about to hit. They suspended play but the organisers announced after 45 minutes that they were reducing the tournament to 54 holes because the storm wouldn’t pass in time for us to finish.”
“It was a nice change from the usual stroke play,” he said. “You had to get your head around the scoring format, but it was a lot of fun. Par was zero, birdie worth two points and a bogey was minus one. So, if you went par-bogey-birdie, you gained a point. The key was keeping a clean card.”
Johan Struwig, President of GNGU, made special mention of Union supporters Liberty, for their continued support. He also high-lighted PriceWaterhouseCoopers involvement in the Silver Salver, who are tournament sponsors for this specific event. Without their support, the tournament ‘spoils’ and extras would not be possible. Irene Country Club members, Executive and staff were thanked for their support and giving up their course over the weekend to host this event. Being the first year as a ranking tournament, the Executive were looking forward to growing this tournament and hosting a full field in future years.
CLICK HERE for final results
(Press report credit – Lali Stander)