History-maker Maas lifts Freddie Tait Cup at Blair Atholl

4 December 2022 – While former double SA Amateur Thriston Lawrence celebrated a
wire-to-wire victory in the 112th Investec South African Open Championship, Christiaan Maas made his own bit of history when he joined an elite group of three as the leading amateur at Blair Atholl on Sunday.

The 19-year-old Pretoria golfer emulated Neville Sundelson (1974) and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (2002) to become only the third amateur to win the Brabazon Trophy and the Freddie Tait Cup in the same calendar year.

After red-hot opening rounds of 65 and 67, Maas had pulled well clear of his four GolfRSA National Squad team-mates, but a rocky start on moving day threatened to derail his campaign. “I was four-over through the turn, but I managed to rally with a trio of birdies over the last five holes to get myself back to level-par,” said the Pretoria Country Club golfer.

Maas entered the final round as one of two favourites.

Yurav Premlall was looking to make it back-to-back wins after his success at last year’s event at the iconic Gary Player Country Club and Maas knew a solid closing round was required to stay clear of the GolfRSA No 1.

By his own admission, he made it a lot harder on himself and his mental resolve was pushed to limits by balky putter on the signature big, firm greens.

However, a closing round of 77 gave Maas a 72-hole total of five-under-par, good enough for a share of 35th, and good enough to edge Premlall by two shots for the leading amateur honour. “I am happy to be the Freddie Tait Cup winner, and I’m really proud to have won both such prestigious titles in the same year. To join Charl on such an exclusive list is a tremendous honour,” said Maas.

The Texas University freshman is always extraordinarily hard on himself, and despite hugging the silverware, today was no exception.

“I played great golf for two and a half rounds,” he lamented. “Today really wasn’t pretty; I thought for sure through 13 holes that I’d lost my chance to win, but then someone told me on the 16th that I was still two shots ahead on five-under. I managed to somehow par the last two holes.

Maas will be heading to one of his favourite golfing destinations next: Leopard Creek, the home of the Alfred Dunhill Championship with Premlall, Potgieter and De Beer.

“I’m very excited for next week. The tournament was cancelled due to Covid-19 last year, and I’m really glad it’s back on the schedule,” he said. “I know that course very well. Last year, my friend and I went there for two weeks, we played 36 holes every day. Hopefully, I can play four good rounds instead of two and a half.”

Article written by Lali Stander (GolfRSA) – Click HERE for full article.
Photo Credit Ernest Blignault (GolfRSA)