Franssen lifts Proudfoot while Manchest leads local charge into Sanlam SA Amateur

Rory Franssen_2_GNGUIt started in an open field near Franklin Manchest’s home when he was four years old, and on Monday the 17-year-old golfer again underlined his potential when he finished as the leading South African in the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship’s 36-hole stroke play qualifying at George Golf Club.

On another magnificent day at the foot of the Outeniqua mountains, the Scottish golfers continued their dominance of this part of the Sanlam SA Amateur.

First place and the Proudfoot Trophy went to 17-year-old Scot Rory Franssen, who posted rounds of 64 and 68 to win on 12 under par. His countryman Craig Ross finished second one stroke back with rounds of 67 and 66.

But it was Manchest’s third place that caused quite a stir as he put together rounds of 68 and 67 to finish as the leading South African on nine under par.

The George golfer has been one of the success stories of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), which he joined when he was eight years old. That was the year he also played his first round at George Golf Club, where he is still a member.

“We used to have an open field near our house in George, and when I was about four years old I remember seeing this man, Joseph Booysen, chipping golf balls in that field. I went and asked him if I could pick up his golf balls for him, and I did that just about every day. When I turned five he gave me my first golf club, a Ben Hogan seven iron,” he said.

As a George local, there will be plenty of expectation on Manchest when the main match play section of the tournament tees off on Tuesday.

“I grew up on this course and love it here. Every time I play here it feels like an honour. I didn’t expect this kind of low scoring though, especially that eight under from Rory on day one. The Scots are putting some pressure on us, but I like knowing that we have to beat some foreigners.”

Franssen’s victory marks the second consecutive year that a Scottish golfer has won the Proudfoot Trophy. Greig Marchbank did so in 2015, and Scotland went on to claim the double when Daniel Young won the Sanlam SA Amateur that year as well. Scottish golfers have won three of the last five Sanlam SA Amateurs.

But Franssen is not about to get ahead of himself.

“I’m overwhelmed and so happy to have come out on top. I can’t wait for the match play. I’ll just stick to what I’ve been doing already. As for the rest, at the start of the week I was just happy to be entered in the competition let alone be the top golfer. It’s a massive boost of confidence for me,” he said.

Written by Michael Vlismas on behalf of Sanlam
PHOTO 2: Scotland’s Rory Franssen won the Proudfoot Trophy as the top qualifier in the Sanlam SA Amateur Stroke Play Qualifier; credit Pieter Els.