McClatchie seals top 20 at St Andrews

[Monday, June 12, 2017 07:52:15]

South Africa’s Kyle McClatchie tied for 18th in the St Andrews Links Trophy, but the reigning English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play champion will leave St Andrews rueing a couple of untimely bogeys on Sunday.

The 19-year-old GolfRSA National Squad player was the sole survivor of the nine-strong South African contingent that teed it up at St Andrews. After an opening 70 at the Jubilee Course and a 69 at the Old Course, McClatchie lagged just two off the pace at five-under-par 139.

He inched another shot closer to the leaders with a birdie at the par five fifth at the Old Course, but a string of bogeys at eight, 10, 11, 16 and 17 for a 76 sent him spiralling down the leaderboard.

However, the same drive and determination that propelled McClatchie to the number one spot in the South African Golf Association rankings was evident in the final round as the Serengeti golfer rallied to make up lost ground.

He turned two under with birdies at seven and nine and countered bogeys at 12 and 17 with a brace of birdies at 15 and 18 for a two under 70 and an aggregate total of three-under-par 285.

“I was in a really good position starting the last day, but I made a few silly mistakes and it cost me,” McClatchie said. “Of course I am disappointed that I didn’t make the most of my chances, but you can’t dwell on it. It’s best to evaluate the mistakes and try to do better next time.

“You have to know where to hit and where to miss at these courses. Birdies are hard to come by and every wrong shot comes with a bogey attached. I think the more you play these courses, the better you get with your course management.

“It was a real learning experience for all of the South Africans. We had rain throughout the practice rounds and the tournament and it was really cold, which we are not really used to. When you through two really challenging courses into the mix, it was a tough week. We all went through a huge learning curve. There aren’t that many true links courses at home, and we all agree that the chance to compete in this event will definitely benefit us.”

Meanwhile Fellow GolfRSA National Squad player Matt Saulez came heartbreakingly close to joining McClatchie on the last day. The 19-year-old KwaZulu-Natal golfer posted rounds of 74 and 71 to miss by a single stroke at one-over-par 145.

The title went to 21-year-old Matthew Jordan from England, who closed with rounds of 69 and 70 for an 11 under par total. Jordan won by a shot from Irishman John Ross Galbraith.

McClatchie, Saulez, Jovan Rebula, Dylan Naidoo, Albert Venter and Marco Steyn travel to England next where they will meet up with top juniors Garrick Higgo, reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Christo Lamprecht and Luca Filippi, who are currently in Japan for the Toyota Junior World Cup.

The nine-strong squad will then attempt to qualify for the final event of the United Kingdom tour – the prestigious Amateur Championship at Royal St Georges in Sandwich, Kent from 19-24 June.