Potgieter sprints to African Amateur lead

LEOPARD CREEK, 6 February 2023 – Reigning Amateur champion Aldrich Potgieter showed serious restraint as he swept into the lead on a windy opening day at the African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Leopard Creek on Monday.

The 18-year-old put on a superb ball-striking display to fire a five-under-par 67 and lead a jam-packed leaderboard,

His closest challenger, Fabrizio de Abreu, carded 68, while two more fellow GolfRSA National Squad members, Dan Bennett and Pascal Gunther, tied for third on three-under. Scotland’s Gregor Graham and Morris Schiefner shared fifth on two-under, with five players a further stroke back.

When Potgieter made his debut on South African soil in the GolfRSA SA Swing opener just 12 months ago, the young prodigy was impressive, and soared into striking distance of 54-hole leader Casey Jarvis with a seven-under-par 65 on moving day.

He got within two shots of Jarvis with two holes to play in the final round, but his aggressive style of play proved costly, and he dropped seven shot shots on the closing holes. “I chased the lead; I got too aggressive, and I paid for it,” he said after having to settle for third,

The more mature version that pitched up this week still attached the fairways, but the experience gained last year and during the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December resulted in a more constructed and patient performance.

“It was a slow start this morning, but those two par threes with the water play difficult when the wind picks up,” said the Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy member, who offset a brace of bogeys with two birdies on the front nine. The birdie on 10 got things rolling and the eagle on 13 helped.”

In a first for the championship, playing partners Potgieter, Simon Hovdal from Sweden and Scotland’s Gregor Tait all eagled the magnificent 502-meter par five. “One guy holed out from 80 metres, and the other guy holed a 35-footer. I felt a little pressure to hole that four-footer. We believe it’s the first-time in championship golf that the whole three-ball made eagles, so that’s pretty special.”

Potgieter backed up the eagle with birdies on 14 and 15 and finished with a birdie after dropping the par-four 17th.

“Both 14 and 15 were tricky, playing into the wind. I hit a good approach on 14, and two-putted for birdie on 15. The tee was forward on 17, and the wind was into my back, so I tried hitting a soft 8-iron but the wind didn’t touch it. I was up on the lip of the bunker. I tried to play for the firm sand, but I went straight underneath the ball and only just got it on the green.”

Frustrated after lipping out for par, Potgieter hit a monster drive on the last hole. “I had 80 meters in and two-putted for birdie,” he said. “I definitely played some holes with more caution and picked the holes where I could rip it off the tee. It was nice to put a decent score on the board, and to help my team into the lead.”

The GolfRSA Proteas started their title defence in the 54-hole Team Competition strongly, chiefly thanks to the Pinnacle Point golfer’s 67 and the 69 from new cap Bennet.

Reigning SA Stroke Play champion Jono Broomhead returned a level par round to put the team at the top of the leaderboard on eight-under. Captain Kyle de Beer, the 2022 SA Amateur champion and only member of last year’s victorious team to return for duty, opened with 76.

“It’s great to have some new blood on the team, and I was really impressed by Dan, our new cap, and Aldie as well, but we’ve come to expect this kind of golf from Aldie,” De Beer said. “Jono never stopped fighting. Hopefully I can sort  a few things out on the range and help the team over the next two rounds.

“It was really tricky out there in the two-club wind, and I think the course was set up very fair in anticipation of the weather. A lot of tees were pushed up, but the flags were still in really tough positions, and it was a challenge, as always.”

Gregor Graham (70), Matthew Wilson (71) and Tait (73) combined for two-under 214 to move Scotland into second, while Swedish trio Hovdal, Eric Sabelstrom Holmberg and Neo Berg posted respective rounds of 72, 73 and 75 to finish third on 220.


67 Aldrich Potgieter

68 Fabrizio de Abreu

69 Daniel Bennett; Pascal Gunther

70 Morris Schiefner; Gregor Graham ENG

71 Matt Roberts ENG; Matthew Wilson ENG; Nash de Klerk; Jordan Burnand; Itai Cohen ISR

72 Simon Hovdal SWE; August Petersson SWE; Martin Couvra FRA; Jonathan Broomhead; Shaurya Bhattacharya IND; Werner Deyzel

73 Zachary Chegwidden GBR; Eric Sabelstrom Holmberg SWE; Robert Moran IRL; Gregor Tait ENG; Richard Knightly IRL; Christopher Bagnall; Robert Brazill IRL

74 Reece Mc kain; Matthew Mcclean IRL; Jordan Wessels; Vinamra Anand IND; Jack McDonnell IRL

75 Dennis Kinyanjul Maara KEN; Warwick Purchase; Christian Kriek; Neo Berg SWE; Njoroge Kibugu; Dylan Kayne

76 Nils Svanberg SWE; Jean Pierre van der Watt; Kyle de Beer; Simon du Plooy; Adel Balala KEN; William Wistrand SWE; Bradley Coombes ENG; Mark Stockdale ENG; Keagan Crosbie; Jaden Deltel

77 Jamie Mann ENG; Hugh Foley IRL; Jonathan Ericsson SWE; Marc Boucher IRL; Michael Wallace; Oliver Goldhill; Letsoso Letsai; Jack Buchanan

78 Ivan Verster; Todd Parker; Edwin Kutara; Altin van der Merwe; Joshua Hill IRL

79 Oliver Brown; Harimohan Singh IND

80 Joshua Koekemoer; Janko van der Merwe; Filip Fahlberg-Johnsson SWE; Amilkar Bhana; Jere Brits; Judd Sundelson

81 Matthew Bramford; Milind Soni IND; Andrew Wahome; Tariro November

82 Thomas Wilson ENG; Filip Sakota; Vukasin Suturovic

84 Titouan Tregouet; Max Halfants BEL

85 Khalil El Gazri FRA; Handre Truter

86 Antonio Marcal ANG

87 Fred Njoroge

88 Jules Helary

91 Panashe Johane Mukumba

96 Victor Marcal ANG; Antonio Avelino ANG

97 Nito Gomes ANG


(Singles: Best 3 scores of 4 to count)

208 Team South Africa Aldrich Potgieter 67 Daniel Bennett 69 Jonathan Broomhead 72

214 Team Scotland Gregor Graham 70 Matthew Wilson 71 Gregor Tait 73

220 Team Sweden 2 Simon Hovdal 72 Eric Sabelstrom Holmberg 73 Neo Berg 75

224 Team Sweden 1 August Petersson 72 Nils Svanberg 76 William Wistrand 76

225 Team India Shaurya Bhattacharya 72 Vinamra Anand 74 Harimohan Singh 79

226 Team Kenya Njoroge Kibugu 75 Dennis Kinyanjul Maara 75 Adel Balala 76

229 Team South Africa Juniors Jaden Deltel 76 Keagan Crosbie 76 Jack Buchanan 77

239 Team Zimbabwe Michael Wallace 77 Tariro November 81 Matthew Bramford 81

278 Team Angola Antonio Marcal 86 Victor Marcal 96 Antonio Avelino 96

PHOTO – Reigning Amateur champion Aldrich Potgieter fired a five-under-par 67 to surge to a one-shot lead in the opening round of the 2023 African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club; credit GolfRSA.

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