GOLF NEWS - Ekurhuleni junior Ryan van Velzen started the Africa Amateur Stroke Play Championship on Monday like a house on fire as he carded a superlative eight-under-par 64 around Leopard Creek Country Club, giving him a three-stroke edge over his nearest competitor.
Starting on the 10th, Van Velzen birdied his first two holes, made two more on the 13th and 14th, before rounding out a dream opening nine with an eagle on the 18th with its notorious island green, which has seen many a dream round doused in the water.
“The eagle was quite cool, because my playing partner hit it to a foot, and I boxed a 20-footer for eagle straight after him,” he said. “It’s quite a short par-five, but you have to hit it in the fairway, or else you can’t go for it. I was lucky enough to hit in the fairway.”
Although he bogeyed his next hole, the 18-year-old Benoni Country Club member came back immediately with a birdie on the second before two more on six and eight saw him home three shots clear of fellow GolfRSA National Squad member Christo Lamprecht.
Sweden’s Algot Kleen – Van Velzen’s playing partner who hit it to within a foot on 18 – also eagled the par five on his way to five-under-par 67 and second place after the first day’s play.
Ireland’s James Sugrue and South Africa’s Jordan Duminy shared third place with a pair of 69s.
A group of five players were in fifth at two under: Gustav Andersson of Sweden, South Africa’s Martin Vorster and the English duo of Robin Williams and Haider Hussain.
“I’m really happy with my round,” said Van Velzen. “I hit it really well all day and I putted well. I made lots of putts, especially in the beginning of the round. The key to this course is keeping it on the short stuff. You can’t really spin it out of the rough, but if you’re in the fairway you can go at some flags.”
Lamprecht – fourth in 2017 and the runner-up in 2018 – also had just a single bogey on his card for his 67, which came on the short par-four fourth. Three birdies came on the back nine after he also started on the 10th, and three more on two, six and eight completed his scoring.
Kleen’s round was more of a struggle, with three bogeys, an eagle and five birdies dotting his card.
Duminy got it to four-under after starting with three bogeys in his first five holes, but the 2019 Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion quickly regained those lost strokes with three birdies in the four remaining holes to turn level par. He made four more in the next six holes before giving one of the gains back with a bogey on the tough par-three seventh.
“I knew I had two par-fives ahead of me after that start,” said the 17-year-old Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy member.
“I knew if I could birdie those and just one more, I could start the second nine level. If I could have a good back nine, I could see what happens. It got going on the 15th when I hit a good approach with a three-wood to 40 feet and two-putted, and it got going from there.”
For the leader, it’s about riding his momentum. “I didn’t play too well in the practice round but I found something out there today so I hope I can keep it going tomorrow,” said Van Velzen.
Thanks to his pace-setting opening round, the new GolfRSA cap also laid a solid foundation for Team South Africa Juniors, who tied Sweden for the first round lead in the 54-hole Team Competition.
Van Velzen, Duminy and Christiaan Maas (77) combined for a total of six-under 210, which was matched by Kleen, Gustav Andersson (70) and Adam Wallin (72) for Team Sweden.
Team South Africa’s Vorster, Casey Jarvis (72) and Kyle de Beer (74) sit in third on 2016, two shots ahead of Team Ireland and three clear of defending champions Team England.
Round 1 Scores
64 Ryan van Velzen
67 Christo Lamprecht Jnr
68 Algot Kleen SWE
69 James Sugrue IRL; Jordan Duminy
70 Gustav Andersson SWE; Martin Vorster; Robin Williams GBR; Haider Hussain ENG
71 Liam van Deventer; Rigardt Albertse
72 Adam Wallin SWE; Matthew Mcclean IRL; Gregory Mckay; Casey Jarvis; Yurav Premlall
73 Nikhil Gopal; Altin van der Merwe; Theo Boulet FRA; Connor Wilson SCO; Nikhil Rama; Aurelien Douce FRA
74 Kyle de Beer; Lewis Irvine SCO; Jay Pandya IND; Joseph Long GBR; Caolan Rafferty IRL; Pierre Pellegrin; Siyanda Mwandla
75 Drikus Joubert; Hugo Archer FRA; Therion Nel; Tom Mckibbin IRL; Oliver Goldhill; Nicolas Muller FRA; James Biggs ENG; Luca Filippi; Tiarnan McLarnon IRL; Peter Handcock GBR; Tom Vaillant FRA; Aneurin Gounden; Jake Bolton ENG; Armand van Dyk; Martin Couvra FRA
76 Samuel Simpson; Olly Huggins GBR; Elliot Anger FRA; Stuart Easton SCO; Andrew Williamson
77 James Wilson SCO; Darren Howie SCO; Rasmus Jonasson SWE; Joe Harvey GBR; Christiaan Maas; Lucas Abrial FRA
78 Tyran Snyders; Stephen Roger SCO; Ayden Senger; Keagan Thomas
79 Hugo Thyr SWE; Rakesh Channoo MRI; Rowan Leister IRL; Sam Bairstow ENG; Jordan Burnand
80 Florent Toulet; Wilmer Edero SWE; Francois van der Walt
81 Daniel Nduva; Morton Kombai; Keith Egan IRL
82 Oswin Schlenkrich; Christiaan Burke; Luhan Bester; Mandla Dlamini
83 Rohan Dholepatil IND; Rasheed Mohamed ZIM; Oliver Brown
84 Gregg Gilson; Anirudh Kamireddypalli IND; Robert Brazill IRL
85 Promise Sombrero ZIM
87 Graeme Derek Lewis
90 Dil Thomas
WD Monty Scowsill ENG
Round 1 Team Competition Scores
(Format: Best 3 scores of 4 to count)
210 Team South Africa Juniors Ryan van Velzen 64 Jordan Duminy 69 Christiaan Maas 77
210 Team Sweden 1 Algot Kleen 68 Gustav Andersson 70 Adam Wallin 72
216 Team South Africa Martin Vorster 70 Casey Jarvis 72 Kyle de Beer 74
218 Team Ireland 1 James Sugrue 69 Caolan Rafferty 74 Tom Mckibbin 75
219 Team England Robin Williams 70 Joseph Long 74 Jake Bolton 75
224 Team France 2 Theo Boulet 73 Martin Couvra 75 Elliot Anger 76
225 Team France 1 Hugo Archer 75 Nicolas Muller 75 Tom Vaillant 75
227 Team Scotland Lewis Irvine 74 Stuart Easton 76 James Wilson 77
228 Team Ireland 2 Matthew Mcclean 72 Tiarnan McLarnon 75 Keith Egan 81
233 Team Mauritius Pierre Pellegrin 74 Rakesh Channoo 79 Florent Toulet 80
236 Team Sweden 2 Rasmus Jonasson 77 Hugo Thyr 79 Wilmer Edero 80
241 Team India Jay Pandya 74 Rohan Dholepatil 83 Anirudh Kamireddypalli 84
249 Team Zimbabwe Morton Kombai 81 Rasheed Mohamed 83 Promise Sombrero 85