Conradie comes close at RJK

393Ruan ConradieGNGUJOHANNESBURG, 14 November 2015 – Ruan Conradie from Gauteng North came agonisingly close to victory in the Central Gauteng Open, but Ekurhuleni’s Dylan Mostert staved off four rivals with a birdie at the final hole to celebrate his first provincial victory  at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Sunday.

The 17-year-old State Mines golfer boxed a two-foot putt at the East Course’s 18th for a one under 71 to finish one stroke clear of the four-way tie in second on a winning total of 12-under-par 276.

Philip Cruse fired a 67 to catch up to fellow Gauteng North golfer Ruan Conradie and Cameron Moralee from Southern Cape, who returned a pair of 72s and Marco Steyn from Central Gauteng, who closed with a 71.

Following a tie for sixth in the Eastern Province Open a week ago, Mostert came into the event carrying some good form, but he was still well out of the running in the first two rounds. He opened with a 71 and a second round 66 saw him start the third round seven shots behind 36-hole leader Steyn.

When Steyn faltered with a 76, though, he threw the tournament wide open.

Conradie carded a 68, Moralee signed for a 69 and Mostert pounced with a 68,to grab a share of the lead at 11 under.

“I knew I was in contention, but I didn’t look at the leaderboard, because it just starts messing with your head,” Mostert said.

“I didn’t have the greatest start to the final round. I birdied the first, but dropped four shots in the next four holes. The wind had picked up quite a bit but we didn’t only have a two club wind. It was swirling so much that club selection was really tough.

“At the second I didn’t up-and-down for par and at the third, I chipped to 10 feet and the par-putt lipped out. Then I has to switch caddies, because my caddie got sick.

“At five, I took the wrong club and hit it in the water. When this kind of thing happens, you just have to stay patient and try to turn it around.”

Mostert two-putted from 40 feet for a birdie at the par-five sixth and he holed a 10-footer for birdie at the eighth after hitting it into the trap behind the green. He got the round back to level par when he sank a three-footer for birdie at the 10th and made seven straight pars until the final hole.

“I had three lip-outs in a row from 15,” he said.

“I just tried to keep a lid on my frustration with the putter, but luckily it warmed up when it needed to. My tee shot landed just short of the fairway bunker, but as I hit my second into the par-five, the wind gusted hard. The shot ballooned and finished 50 meters short of the green. I hit a great shot in to two feet and boxed the birdie putt.”

Mostert has struggled for the last two years since he started working on swing changes with his coach, English professional Neil Cheetham.

He started showing a return to form on the junior circuit with top five finishes in his last four starts, including a runner-up finish in the Inland Nomads National Order of Merit event at Bryanston and the top 10 finish at Port Elizabeth Golf Club gave him a good dose of confidence.

“This win makes the hard work, the long hours and all the frustration over the last two years so worth it,” Mostert said.

“This is for me, for my coach Neil and for my family, especially my dad Kirk, who has been so supportive through all the swing changes and kept on encouraging me.

“It’s really great to take some confidence in the SA U-19 Inter-Provincial Championship and I can’t wait for December to see if I can go two-for-two in the Joburg Junior Open here at RJK.”

Modderfontein’s Steyn won the Closed Championship with rounds of 67, 63, 76 and 71.

276 Dylan Mostert 71 66 68 71
277 Ruan Conradie 71 66 68 72; Cameron Moralee 71 65 69 72; Philip Kruse 70 68 72 67; Marco Steyn 67 63 76 71
282 Jason Viljoen 70 70 69 73
284 Herman Loubser 72 71 71 70; Albert Venter 68 68 71 77
285 Jeff Hopkins IRL 72 68 72 73
286 Keegan de Lange 73 73 70 70; Carlo O’Reilly 73 71 68 74; Niel du Preez 70 73 69 74