GEORGE (11 March 2012) – A couple of weeks ago, 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen shared a few course management tips with the members of his 57 Academy during a round of golf at Pinnacle Point.
Those tips made a world of difference to Mentz Germishuis.
Last year, the Mossel Bay golfer carded a dismal 81 in the Glacier Junior Series at Oubaai Golf Club. Twelve months later, the 15-year-old was the only player among the 45 juniors contesting the A-Division to break par in the tournament, hosted by three-time Major winner Ernie Els.
Germishuis negotiated the blustery conditions at Oubaai Golf Club with the finesse of an old pro, firing a one-under-par 71 to claim an emphatic four shot victory over Alwyn Griebenow from Port Elizabeth.
“I played clever, patient golf today,” said Germishuis. “Louis put a lot of emphasis on course management when he played with us, especially on the short game. He talked a lot about using your short game to set up birdies. I hit my driver and long irons well today, but it was my pitch shots from 60 to 80 meters that I was able to convert for birdies.”
Germishuis began with a brace of birdies, but lost his advantage in the escalating South-easterly wind with bogeys at the third and fourth holes.
“I made three birdies in a row before the turn to go three-under,” he said. “All three birdies came off short putts that I set up with my lob wedge. There is definitely truth in what Louis explained to us, especially when the wind blows the way it did today.
“He said not to go for the green with two long shots, but to rather play to 60 to 80 meters and use a wedge in for a shorter, makeable putt.”
Germishuis held steady from 10 through 15, but a double at the 16 railroaded his run a little. “But I got at least one shot back with another birdie off from 60 meter pitch shot at the 18th. I think 71 was about the best score I could have posted today.”
Oosthuizen said this improvement is exactly why he and other top SA golfers support the Glacier Junior Series.
“We all cut our teeth on the junior circuit,” said the 2010 Open champion, who will be hosting his own tournament for a third year running at Mossel Bay Golf Club this June.
“The junior circuit gave us all our start; this series offers the juniors a competitive platform to gain experience and test themselves. That’s why we are all throwing our weight behind the series.”
With his spot in the Glacier Junior Series Final at Pecanwood secured, Germishuis said he will focus on refining his game over the next few months.
“I’ve been working on my swing with Val Holland from Kingswood and I’ve seen a lot of improvement in the last three months,” he said. “My scores have improved and I definitely feel I’m doing a better job of managing my game since spending time with Louis.
“Louis may not work as hard as someone like Charl Schwartzel, but he is very down to earth. He is a great feel player. He answered every question we threw at him and he is not intimidating at all. It’s like playing with a friend, but one who has really good course management.”
Meanwhile defending champion Jack Duthie, who missed last year’s Glacier Junior Series Final, was thrilled to be competing again.
“I spent three months on the bench after having surgery for three torn ankle ligaments,” the Knysna golfer explained. “I started playing and within a week I fell at the driving range and it was back to the bench for another three months.
Duthie had to receive some pain treatment after nine holes, but still finished a credible third. “I wasn’t particularly impressed with the 76 I shot but at least I’m getting the rust off,” he said. “I still have some pain and discomfort, especially if I’ve played quite a lot of rounds, but it’s improving all the time. I guess I might win the Louis Oosthuizen tournament, but I’m not taking anything for granted. I’ll enter a few more tournaments just to give myself a decent shot at qualifying for the Final.
“It’s never a waste of time to play in the Glacier Junior Series tournaments anyway. They draw players of the highest standard and that’s the kind of competition I need to keep improving.”
ERNIE ELS TOURNAMENT RESULTS (Oubaai Golf Resort and Spa, 11 March 2012)
A-Division (1-6 Handicap)
1. Mentz Germishuis 71 gross
2. Alwyn Griebenow 75 gross
3. Jack Duthie 76 gross
Best Nett – Christo Carstens 74
B-Division (7-18 Handicap)
1. Reece Naidoo 83 gross
2. Jonathan Rees 85 gross (on count out)
3. Schalk Pieterse 85 gross
Best Nett – JP van der Walt 75
C-Division (19-36 Handicap)
1. Johan Alberts 41 43 pts
2. Zilke Bal 37 pts
3. Damian Hyman 36 pts