Top seeds crash out at Sanlam SA Amateur

SANLAM AMATURE GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPSTSHWANE (3 March 2015) – The top two seeds crashed out to two Gauteng North players in the first round of the Match Play at the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship at Silver Lakes Golf Estate on Tuesday.

Both the Proudfoot Trophy winner, Greig Marchbank from Scotland, and Tristen Strydom, the runner-up in the 36-hole qualifying event, fell to unexpected defeats, leaving the knockout format wide open for the 32 remaining players.

Strydom, South Africa’s number one ranked amateur, was convincingly beaten by Pretoria Golf Club player Adriel Poonan 3&1.

“It was the toughest game I’ve ever played,” said Poonan, who is ranked 318 spots below the top-ranked Strydom in the South African amateur rankings.

“Tristen struggled in the beginning, and then I just made pars and was consistent. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but a good experience.”

The 19-year-old Poonan was three-up through six holes, before he made eagle on the short par-five seventh to extend his advantage to a three-hole margin.

“It’s a lot of confidence I take, but at the same time I don’t want to underestimate my next opponent,” said Poonan.

“My short game helped me today, I wasn’t driving the ball really well. My putting helped a lot more today.”

Earlier, Wingate Park’s Teaghan Gauche defeated Marchbank of Scotland 2&1.

Both players were involved in a playoff on Monday. Marchbank beat Strydom to the strokeplay qualifying title, while Gauche had to birdie the first playoff hole to beat out five other players for the final 64th spot in the Match Play.

Gauche was out the blocks faster than his opponent, going three-up through four holes with a majestic eagle two on the par-four fourth hole.

“I just hit an amazing tee shot with my driver which ended up three foot from the hole, and it’s always nice to make a two on a par-four,” said Gauche.

“He got off to a shaky start with some three-putts, but I was just playing solid where I hit a lot of greens in regulation.”

Coming down the stretch, Gauche was able to apply the pressure and close out the match on the 17th to claim a huge scalp on day one of the knockout format.

“It’s definitely a big confidence boost. I was confident coming in to this week. It was a bit of a surprise getting into the Match Play in the 64th spot. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the week.”

Former SA Stroke Play champion Jason Smith from Irene Golf Club produced the biggest margin of victory with an 8&6 thumping of Potchefstroom golfer Stephen Allen.

Scot Calum Fyfe showed his mettle to come from behind to win his match on the 19th hole against Jade Buitendag of Kingswood Golf Estate.

“My opponent, I felt, didn’t hit a bad shot the whole round. He was so consistent, and made a few birdies as well,” said the Cewder Golf Club golfer.

“I just had to try and stick it out and hole a few putts. I just tried to stay confident and believe in myself.”

Both players found the green on the first extra hole, but Fyfe stepped up to nail the 20-footer for the win after Buitendag came up well short with his birdie attempt.

In the anti-climax of the first round, 2014 Proudfoot Trophy winner, Jovan Rebula’s opponent Gerlou Roux conceded the match on the 12th green. Rebula was three up through 11 holes, and after making birdie on 12 his opponent threw in the towel due to illness to gift the George Golf Club player entry into the next round.

PHOTO – Pretoria’s Adriel Poonan knocked out the SA number one ranked Tristen Strydom to advance to round two in Match Play at the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship at Silver Lakes Golf Estate; credit Catherine Kotze/SASPA.