Potgieter’s dream year continues at African Amateur

LEOPARD CREEK, 9 September 2023 – Twelve months ago, a youngster with an Afrikaans name and an Aussie twang made his first appearance in a South African national golf event when he teed it up as a last-minute entrant into GolfRSA’s African Amateur Championship Stroke Play Championship.

The victorious South African team celebrate their successful title defense in the 2023 African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club; credit GolfRSA.

Though Aldrich Potgieter would not go on to win, his third-place finish caught the attention of many – particularly his third-round of 65 that included no fewer than 11 birdies on one of the country’s toughest tracks, Leopard Creek Country Club.

2023 African Amateur Stroke Play Championship winner Aldrich Potgieter at Leopard Creek Country Club; credit GolfRSA.

Fast forward a year and the reigning Amateur champion is the African Amateur champion for 2023.

Rounds of 67 and 69 saw him leading the prestigious event at the halfway stage by a stroke over fellow GolfRSA National Squad member Fabrizio de Abreu. When bad weather washed out the final 36 holes of the tournament, Potgieter was declared the champion.

“I’m so excited about this win,” said Potgieter, who is South African-born, but Australian-raised. “This is an awesome tournament on an amazing golf course, and this has been a dream start to my second year on the GolfRSA circuit. We have a few big events coming up and my game is really good. I feel like I am peaking at the right time.

“It’s not the way I would have liked to win, and I feel for Fabi, who was creeping up on me in the third round. It just shows you that you have to play well in the first two rounds to get yourself up there and if stuff like this happens, you know you’ve covered yourself. I’m grateful that I played some really good golf in the first two rounds.”

Potgieter credited the experience gained in his African Amateur debut and competing in the Alfred Dunhill Championship late last year to his success.

“I learned so much last year and at the Alfred Dunhill, and I was able to use that knowledge and experience to better manage my game; knowing when to attack and when to play for position is so important at this course,” he explained. “I still made a few mistakes out there, like the dropped shots on the par threes on the front nine in both rounds. It’s a learning curve. Looking back, I probably play those wholes more aggressively next time and not be so scared of the water.”

It has been a monumental 12 months for the Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy member since returning with his family to South Africa following eight years of living in Perth, Western Australia.

After playing his way into the GolfRSA National Squad with a series of national junior wins, the 18-year-old claimed the British Amateur Championship during the squad’s trip to the United Kingdom.

This earned Potgieter a berth in last year’s Open Championship at St Andrews and he also played in the Junior Presidents Cup and represented South Africa in the World Amateur Team Championships.

In just under months, he will tee it up at Augusta in the Masters, and he also qualified for the US Open. “It’s been a year beyond my wildest dreams,” he said. “Not only am I going to play in my most favourite Major, but I also received an invitation into The Memorial. Then it’s the US Open in California in Jube. And I also get to play the Alfred Dunhill Championship again this year with this win. It like one dream after another keeps coming true.”

For De Abreu, the weather may have put paid to any chance of chasing down Potgieter and claiming his first major amateur title, but the 16–year-old Woodhill junior has plenty of time on side.

“It’s just one of those things; you can’t control the weather and the greenkeeper and the staff did an extraordinary job just to get us out there in the third round,” he said. “I would have loved the chance to test myself under the pressure of trying to win a big event, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“I’m just really happy to be playing nicely and getting myself into contention, especially with the SA Stroke Play and SA Amateur coming up. I felt really good over the clubs; the whole game is working well and I was happy with the way I handled the pressure. It feels like all the hard work is starting to pay off and I hopefully I can convert it into a win over the next few weeks.”

With the championship reduced to 36 holes, the South African team celebrated a successful title defence in the Team Competition.

Potgieter, Jono Broomhead, Dan Bennett and Potgieter raced to a 12-stroke lead over Scotland over the first two rounds, and were in no great danger of losing the title when the heavens opened and play was cancelled on the third day.

“We would have loved to have finished the third round, because we wanted to try and set a tournament records, but was not to be,” said De Beer, who captained the team to a 19 under par victory.

“We had a good couple of days together at the squad camp before the championship started, and that boosted our team spirit and fired up our desire to win. It was all about the team over the first two days, and every player on the team made a valuable contribution. And we are over the moon that we could get this one for our manager, Gavin Groves, because he has never had a team win before.”
The reigning SA Amateur champion commented that, after a few lean years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the South African players loved having a big compliment of international players in the field.

“It was awesome to have so many nations compete, and to see so many teams enter this year. Loved having the European players and the team from India here, and it was especially great that Zimbabwe, Kenya and Angola also sent teams. What a wonderful opportunity for them to test themselves and to gain experience in an event of this stature, and at South Africa’s No 1 course. The competition was fierce, but even on the course, we shared a lot of laughs and we forged a lot of new friendships this week.”

FINAL RESULT

136 Aldrich Potgieter 67 69

137 Fabrizio de Abreu 68 69

139 Gregor Graham SCO 70 69; Pascal Gunther 69 70

140 Dylan Kayne 75 65

141 Jonathan Broomhead 72 69

142 Matt Roberts WAL 71 71; Daniel Bennett 69 73

143 Kyle de Beer 76 67; Gregor Tait SCO 73 70; Shaurya Bhattacharya IND 72 71; Matthew Wilson SCO 71 72; Jordan Burnand 71 72

144 Simon du Plooy 76 68; Werner Deyzel 72 72

146 Christian Kriek 75 71; Reece Mc kain 74 72; Matthew McClean IRL 74 72; Martin Couvra FRA 72 74; Itai Cohen ISR 71 75

147 Jonathan Ericsson SWE 77 70; Jordan Wessels 74 73; Robert Brazill IRL 73 74

148 Letsoso Letsai 77 71; Njoroge Kibugu 75 73; August Petersson SWE 72 76

149 Altin van der Merwe 78 71; Ivan Verster 78 71; Marc Boucher IRL 77 72; Keagan Crosbie 76 73; Mark Stockdale ENG 76 73; Zachary Chegwidden GBR 73 76; Richard Knightly IRL 73 76; Robert Moran IRL 73 76

150 William Wistrand SWE 76 74; Nils Svanberg SWE 76 74; Adel Balala KEN 76 74

151 Hugh Foley IRL 77 74; Christopher Bagnall 73 78; Nash de Klerk 71 80

152 Judd Sundelson 80 72; Joshua Hill IRL 78 74; Jamie Mann SCO 77 75; Warwick Purchase 75 77; Eric Sabelstrom Holmberg SWE 73 79; Simon Hovdal SWE 72 80; Morris Schiefner 70 82

153 Michael Wallace 77 76; Jean Pierre van der Watt 76 77; Jaden Deltel 76 77; Dennis Kinyanjul Maara KEN 75 78

154 Vukasin Suturovic 82 72

155 Amilkar Bhana 80 75; Oliver Goldhill 77 78; Jack Buchanan 77 78; Jack McDonnell IRL 74 81

156 Milind Soni IND 81 75; Bradley Coombes ENG 76 80; Vinamra Anand IND 74 82

157 Filip Fahlberg-Johnsson SWE 80 77; Jere Brits 80 77; Oliver Brown WAL 79 78

158 Filip Sakota 82 76; Janko van der Merwe 80 78; Joshua Koekemoer 80 78; Todd Parker 78 80

159 Matthew Bramford 81 78

161 Neo Berg SWE 75 86

162 Edwin Kutara 78 84

163 Andrew Wahome 81 82

164 Max Halfants BEL 84 80

166 Jules Helary 88 78; Handre Truter 85 81

167 Titouan Tregouet 84 83; Harimohan Singh IND 79 88

168 Fred Njoroge 87 81; Thomas Wilson ENG 82 86

170 Khalil El Gazri FRA 85 85

172 Panashe Johane Mukumba 91 81

173 Tariro November 81 92

176 Victor Marcal ANG 96 80

177 Antonio Marcal ANG 86 91

186 Nito Gomes ANG 97 89

198 Antonio Avelino ANG 96 102

TEAM RESULT

Singles: Best 3 scores of 4 to count

413 Team South Africa 208 Aldrich Potgieter 67 Daniel Bennett 69 Jonathan Broomhead 72; 205 Kyle de Beer 67 Aldrich Potgieter 69 Jonathan Broomhead 69

425 Team Scotland 214 Gregor Graham 70 Matthew Wilson 71 Gregor Tait 73; 211 Gregor Graham 69 Gregor Tait 70 Matthew Wilson 72

448 Team Sweden 1 224 August Petersson 72 Nils Svanberg 76 William Wistrand 76; 224 Nils Svanberg 74 William Wistrand 74 August Petersson 76

449 Team Sweden 2 220 Simon Hovdal 72 Eric Sabelstrom Holmberg 73 Neo Berg 75; 229 Jonathan Ericsson 70 Eric Sabelstrom Holmberg 79 Simon Hovdal 80

451 Team Kenya 226 Njoroge Kibugu 75 Dennis Kinyanjul Maara 75 Adel Balala 76; 225 Njoroge Kibugu 73 Adel Balala 74 Dennis Kinyanjul Maara 78

453 Team India 225 Shaurya Bhattacharya 72 Vinamra Anand 74 Harimohan Singh 79; 228 Shaurya Bhattacharya 71 Milind Soni 75 Vinamra Anand 82

454 Team South Africa Juniors 229 Jaden Deltel 76 Keagan Crosbie 76 Jack Buchanan 77; 225 Keagan Crosbie 73 Amilkar Bhana 75 Jaden Deltel 77

474 Team Zimbabwe 239 Michael Wallace 77 Tariro November 81 Matthew Bramford 81; 235 Michael Wallace 76 Matthew Bramford 78 Panashe Johane Mukumba 81

538 Team Angola 278 Antonio Marcal 86 Victor Marcal 96 Antonio Avelino 96; 260 Victor Marcal 80 Nito Gomes 89 Antonio Marcal 91

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