CAPE TOWN ((1 March 2012) – South Africa’s leading amateur Brandon Stone and Southern Cape’s Shaun Smith have the daunting task of staving off the British assault in this afternoon’s semi-finals of the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship at Mowbray Golf Club.
Stone knocked out Western Province number one, Michael Loppnow, at the 19th, while Smith thrashed Mowbray Golf Club amateur Drew Denyar 8 & 6.
England Boy Squad player Jamie Clare defeated Limpopo’s CJ du Plessis at the 19th while Brian Soutar of the Scottish Union Golf Men’s Squad needed 20 holes to dispatch Louis Taylor of Harrismith.
Stone was full of praise for Western Province number one Loppnow and said the victory has really fired him up for this afternoon’s semi-final.
“Michael was an incredibly tough opponent,” said the 18-year-old from Gauteng North. “All day our shots were never six to eight feet apart and we matched each other hole for hole.
“He really pushed me to lift my game and that is the kind of challenge I really enjoy. We traded the lead in the first six holes, but I lost the seventh to go one down and we halved the next seven holes before I could level the score. That tells you exactly what kind of a match it was.
“I couldn’t afford to leave a putt short with him around, because he just pounced. I finished six under and he was five under, so it was a really tight match. To beat Michael like this has me really fired up for this afternoon.”
The country’s number one expects English Boy Squad player Clare to put up a tough battle.
“Jamie has kind of flown under the radar. I didn’t play with him at the Stroke Play or the qualifier, so I have no idea what to expect,” Stone said. “But to take CJ to 19 holes takes some doing. I expect another serious marathon this afternoon.”
Taylor was 1-up with three to play but after halving the 16th and 17th, the gritty Scotsman took advantage of a poor tee-shot from the South African to get to the 18th green in two and square the match. It took him another two holes, though, to clinch his semi-final spot.
Smith won the second hole to hit the front and kept his foot on the accelerator, not dropping a shot on his way to victory at the 12th.
“Brian is a fighter; he will take the match the distance unless I get in front early and keep my lead,” the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation graduate said. “But my game plan this week has been to play the course, not the man, and I’ll stick to that this afternoon.
“When you’ve plotted your strategy, you need to keep focussed on that. When you start watching your opponent and paying attention to his shots and club selections, you lose your focus. So I’ll tee it up with him at the first, but from there it’s just the course and I.”
SHAUN SMITH (Southern Cape) beat DREW DENYER (Western Province) 8 & 6
BRIAN SOUTAR (Scotland) beat LOUIS TAYLOR (Central Gauteng) 20th hole
BRANDON STONE (Gauteng North) beat MICHAEL LOPPNOW (Western Province) 19th hole
JAMIE CLARE (England) beat CJ DU PLESSIS (Limpopo) 19th hole