PORT ELIZABETH, 21 February 2017 – Luke Mayo fought 17 players for a chance to start the match play stage of the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship and the KwaZulu-Natal junior didn’t put a foot wrong in the first round at Humewood on Tuesday.
The 17-year-old Mount Edgecombe golfer faced fellow KZN junior Chris Woollam – who won the 36-hole stroke play qualifier on Monday – but Mayo sent the Proudfoot Trophy champion packing at the 18th to advance to round two.
Mayo was part of a big group of under 20-year-olds who impressed on day one as a number of top players were felled and Alan Lones was the lone local survivor still standing.
Lones and Michael Holden from Humewood were the only Eastern Province players to make the match play field, but Holden went down 3 & 2 to Jeremy Freiburghaus from Switzerland.
Lones defeated former Border player Jade Buitendag 3 & 2. The Port Elizabeth Golf Club player was 3-up on Buitendag through 12 and recovered quickly to wipe out a double bogeyed at 13 with a gain at 14. He closed with two pars to win the match.
Mayo – one of 18 players that finished the stroke play qualifier in a tie at one under 143 and had to contest the last three spots in a sudden-death play-off – secured the last spot in the field, but this meant facing his regular practice partner Woollam.
Mayo was 2-up after birdies at five and six, but the Dowrie Farm golfer landed two incredible birdie putts at 10 and 11 to square the match.
“Chris and I practice together all the time and he was holing everything he looked at, so I knew it would be a fight till the last putt,” said Mayo. “We matched each other shot for shot over the last five holes and both birdied 14, 16, 17 and 18, but I made the par putt at 15 and he didn’t.
“During the two practice rounds we had a little match play going and Chris beat me 1-up on both days, so I guess I’ve had my revenge. I told him he has a trophy already, so I’ll try to get us the other one. I’m sure he won’t be mad at me for too long for taking him out of the championship.”
Craig Ross from Scotland kept his title defence on track when he took down Frenchman Clément Charmasson 4 & 2 and Gauteng North’s Richard Joubert belted top-ranked Marco Steyn – a semi-finalist last year – 7 & 6 for the biggest scalp of the day.
Zabastian de Jager and Jason Smith dispatched two more international challengers.
De Jager beat Anthoine Auboin from France 4 & 3 but it took 2014 SA Stroke Play champion Smith four extra holes to get rid of Scotland’s Craig Howie.
However, it was the talented pool of juniors that really impressed in amateur golf’s showpiece at Humewood.
Schaper from Ekurhuleni jettisoned Mitchell Waite from England 2 & 1, Filippi from Western Province won 2-up and Southern Cape’s Vorster triumphed 2 & 1. Higgo from Boland scored a 3 & 2 win and Lamprecht from Southern Cape took care of another international entry when he eliminated 2016 semi-finalist Loris Schuepbach from Switzerland 2-up.
Slade Pickering, who led the first round of the 36-hole stroke play qualifier, made a hash of his last two holes, but rallied to defeat Tom Watson at the 19th hole.
“I was 3-up on Tom, but I hit a terrible tee shot at 17 and three-putted 18 to go bogey-bogey over the last two holes,” said the North West golfer. “I was a little frustrated that I let it slipped like that, but I just got my head back in the game. I hit it stiff at the first and sunk the birdie putt. I’m having a great time in my first SA Amateur and hopefully I can keep it going for a few more matches.”
Someone else who is still having a lot of fun in Port Elizabeth is reigning English Amateur Dan Brown, who bounced back from his play-off loss to Woollam Brown handed fellow Englishman Sean Towndrow a 3 & 2 hiding.
Other foreigners still standing include James Walker and Joseph Long from England, Swiss golfer Robert Foley, Liam Johnston from Scotland, Yashas Chandra from India, French pair Thomas Boulanger and Pierre Pineau and their countryman Edgar Catherine, who won the SA Stroke Play Championship crown a fortnight ago at Kingswood in George.
First Round Results
Luke Mayo beat Chris Woollam 1Up;
Luca Filippi beat Steven le Roux 2Up;
James Walker GBR beat Victor Veyret FRA 2Up;
Joseph Long GBR beat Jamie Stewart SCO 4 & 2;
Zabastian de Jager beat Anthoine Auboin FRA 4 & 3;
Combrinck Smit beat Therion Nel 4 & 3;
Andre van Heerden beat Matthew Kiewitz 3 & 2;
Theunie Bezuidenhout beat Keelan van Wyk 1Up;
Brandon Cloete beat Wilco Nienaber 4 & 3;
Caylum Boon beat Robin Williams GBR 20th hole;
Richard Joubert beat Marco Steyn 7 & 6;
Martin Vorster beat Quintin Wilsnach 2 & 1;
Craig Ross SCO beat Clément Charmasson FRA 4 & 2;
Liam Johnston SCO beat Aneurin Gounden 6 & 5;
Jayden Schaper beat Mitchell Waite GBR 2 & 1;
Robert Foley SUI beat Hans-Jurie Human 2 & 1;
Dan Brown GBR beat Sean Towndrow ENG 3 & 2;
Keaton Slatter beat Henk Geldenhuys 3 & 2;
Jason Smith beat Craig Howie SCO 22nd hole;
Thomas Boulanger FRA beat Dimitri Mary FRA 19th hole;
Alan Lones beat Jade Buitendag 3 & 2;
Edgar Catherine FRA beat Keegan Steyn 1Up;
Ruan Groenewald beat Calum Fyfe SCO 1Up;
Dylan Kok beat Claudio Consul GER 2Up;
Slade Pickering beat Tom Watson 19th hole;
Yashas Chandra IND beat Gregory Mckay 4 & 3;
Jeremy Freiburghaus SUI beat Michael Holden 3 & 2;
Pierre Pineau FRA beat James Pennington 1Up;
Andre Nel beat Eric Wowor 3 & 2;
Christo (Jnr) Lamprecht beat Loris Schuepbach SUI 2Up;
Erhard Lambrechts beat Malcolm Mitchell 3 & 2;
Garrick Higgo beat Matt Saulez 3 & 2;