Tshwane golfer Ben Kleynhans is still stunned by his first provincial victory this season a full week after he lifted the Southern Cape Senior Amateur title by one stroke at George Golf Club.
“I just couldn’t believe that I pulled it off, considering how many times I tried to throw it away,” the 52-year-old golfer from Akasia Country Club said.
Kleynhans began the final round in a tie for the lead with Julian Visser from Bellville Golf Club and Randpark’s Etienne Durandt. The leading trio set the first round target at one-under-par 71, but Kleynhans moved into the sole lead when he navigated the first six holes in pars.
“Then I almost threw it all away,” he said. “I double bogeyed the seventh and went drop, drop to turn in four over. I had a stern talk to myself because all those bogeys came from wayward shots.”
While Norman Phillips from East London Golf Club and Mowbray’s Herman September battled bravely to close the gap on Kleynhans, the Gauteng North managed to stem the bleeding with a brace of birdies at the 10th and 11th holes and par at the 12th.
“No sooner did I get my focus back, than I dropped four shots in the next three holes,” Kleynhans moaned. “I couldn’t believe what I was doing to myself. I doubled the 13th and went through 14 and 15 bogey, bogey, but after two great drives at 16, I was in the greenside bunker with a chance for birdie.”
Kleynhans executed a perfect trap shot and boxed the two-footer for a crucial birdie.
In front, Phillips and September were tied at five over, so Kleynhans made no mistakes coming home.
Phillips signed for to tie for second on five-over-par 149 with September, who closed with a 77.
Brian Mampies from Clovelly Golf Club finished alone in fourth on 150 (74-76), while Jock Wellington from Kyalami Country Club tied for fifth with Walmer Golf Club’s Colin Mavuso and William Skinner from Zwartkops on seven over 151. Wellington and Mavuso carded rounds of 75 and 76, while Skinner opened with a 73 and closed with a 78.
Andre Taute was the top finisher among the local entrants. The Oudtshoorn golfer tied for 11th on 156 after rounds of 75 and 81.
Kleynhans has been in threatening form since the start of the season and the breakthrough victory followed three top 20 finishes, a tie for seventh at the Boland Senior Open in February and a share of fifth at the KwaZulu-Natal Senior Amateur Open a month later.
While the Tshwane senior was thrilled to finally hit the target, he lamented the fact that he won’t be able to carry his winning form into Border Open, the next event on the senior amateur calendar scheduled for the end of June at East London Golf Club.
“I watched Herman, playing in front of me and he was splitting fairways and hitting greens,” the winner said. “I thought for sure he was leading, so it was a great feeling to step off the course and learn that I was the winner. I left it really late this season, but a win is a win.
“Unfortunately I just can’t afford to take the time away from my transport company at the moment, so it looks like I will have to skip the three events in the Eastern Province in July.
“My next event will probably be the Mpumalanga Senior Open in August and then I have m title defence at the Lowveld Open in September. You never know, though, I might just be able to organise things so I can make one trip to the Eastern Cape.”
The Southern Cape Senior Amateur drew nearly 80 players from 13 unions across South Africa.