Sinclair triumphs at Nomads SA Boys U-19 Champs

2015NSAU19BMP_RosswellSinclair1_GNGUPOLOKWANE, 11 April 2015 – Rosswell Sinclair defeated fellow Gauteng North junior JP Cooper 2-up in a thrilling 36-hole final to lift the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Match Play Championship title at Polokwane Golf Club on Saturday.

The 17-year-old Centurion golfer had some anxiety going into the final round against his former Nomads SA Boys U-19 Inter-Provincial team-mate, but the pair decided to put their friendship on ice until they reached the finishing line.

“It’s was kind of weird for us to compete against each other, because we will line up for Gauteng North in the SA U-23 Inter-Provincial on Monday and we’ll be foursomes partners,” Sinclair said.

“We both just decided to get on with it and let chips fall and it turned out to be one of the best matches I’ve ever played in this kind of championship. We were both very competitive throughout, but it was nice to still chat to each other and to appreciate each other’s good shots.”

Sinclair led 2-up through 12 holes after mixing birdies at the third and seventh with a double bogey at the sixth and an eagle at the par-five 12th.

He dropped a shot at the par-four 13th that opened the door for Wingate Park’s Cooper, who ended a run of 11 successive pars with a birdie at the 12th and surged ahead with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15.

Cooper bogeyed the par-three 16th, though, and Sinclair birdied the 17th to go 1-up. He kept the edge going into the second trip around the Limpopo layout after both players parred 18.

Cooper levelled the match with an eagle-three at the 20th hole, and the pair traded birdies over the next three holes with Sinclair birdies 21 and 23 either side of Cooper’s at 22.

Both players parred the 24th hole, but Sinclair was in the driver’s seat after that with four successive birdies from the 25th hole.

Sinclair lost a hole to a bogey at 29 and Cooper birdied the 30th to cut Sinclair’s lead to 1 hole, but the Centurion junior matched Cooper’s birdie at the 32nd hole to protect his 1-up lead.

Sinclair closed with four successive pars to seal a 2-up victory when Cooper signed off with a bogey-birdie-bogey finish.

“This is without a doubt the biggest achievement of my career and I have to acknowledge a few people who prepared me for this moment,” said Sinclair.

“My coach Graham Francis gave me some swing tips on the phone on Thursday that turned the tournament around for me and CJ du Plessis from the GFG Academy also called me and gave me some mental tips that really helped.

“I also want to thank Johan Struwig, our Gauteng North U-23 manager, who gave JP and me a lot of support during the tournament.”

Sinclair believes he has turned a big corner with this breakthrough.

“I’m absolutely over the moon with this victory. I’ve never really contended in these events before, but I believe that competing against the pros on the IGT Tour over the last nine months has given me a lot of self-confidence.

“I never doubted myself in the final and I held my focus. Even when JP hit two incredible shots to set up eagles at the ninth and 14th holes in the first round, I stayed in the moment. I laid up at both holes and held my nerve. I hit a great shot from 90 meters at the ninth and another good approach from 60 meters at the 14th and birdied both times to stay in contention.”

Both finalists were full of praise for the greens staff at Polokwane Golf Club.

“The greens staff did an incredibly job to prepare the course for us this week,” Sinclair said. “The fairways were fantastic and the greens improved every day. JP and I both thought that the greens rolled beautifully in the final round and added to the challenge.

“We both feel really well prepared for the SA U-23 Inter-Provincial and we are excited to team up to bring another trophy home to Gauteng North.”

PHOTO – Nomads SA Boys U-19 Match Play Championship winner Rosswell Sinclair; credit Warren Blunt.