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Lawrence denies Du Plessis at Fancourt

03 Jul 2013

South Africa’s number one ranked junior Thriston Lawrence defeated Hennie du Plessis at the first play-off hole to win the Nomads National Order of Merit Tournament at Fancourt; credit Dale Boyce.

South Africa’s number one ranked junior Thriston Lawrence triumphed in the Nomads Order of Merit Tournament at Fancourt after edging out Limpopo’s Hennie du Plessis with a birdie in a sudden-death play-off at The Links.

The 54-hole junior event was played over all three Gary Player-designed courses at the popular Garden Route resort, with the final round contested at the par-73 Links.

Lawrence and Du Plessis began the final round at the treacherous Links trailing overnight leader Zander Gous by two shots.

Overnight rain had left the course a little soaked, but with placing, the players were able to take advantage of good tee shots and Keegan de Lange navigated the 6,477m layout in 67 strokes to post the low round of the day and set the clubhouse target at even-par 217.

The Gauteng North golfer was overtaken by Du Plessis, though, after the Polokwane golfer closed with a three-under-par 70 with two bogeys on the front nine and three birdies on a flawless back nine.

Meanwhile Lawrence, with birdies the first, fifth, 11th and 13th holes and bogeys at the second and 16th, was just one shot off the pace coming up the 18th.

“I was playing behind Hennie and our scorer told me Hennie set the target at one under 216,” Lawrence said. “I knew I needed a birdie to force a play-off.”

The 16-year-old Mpumalanga golfer hit a perfect tee shot to 18th fairway and left himself a short little chip with his second shot. He chipped to 15-feet and drained the putt for birdie and a matching 70 to force the play-off.

Both players reached the green in two at the par-four first, but Du Plessis’ 18-foot putt for birdie lipped out. Lawrence boxed his 15-footer for birdie to seal his victory

It has certainly been a watershed year for Nelspruit golfer, who became the youngest winner of the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship in April and has enjoyed a season of top 10 finishes.

The victory at Fancourt follows on the back of a trip to Japan, where he helped South Africa to a fifth place finish at the 21st TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup, while finishing third in the individual standings of this prestigious event.

It was a tough break, though, for Du Plessis, who also took the runner-up spot in last week’s Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship at Mount Edgecombe.

“I’m really happy with this victory, especially after this round at the Links, but you have to feel for Hennie,” Lawrence said. “He is such a tough opponent and he showed last week and today that he has a lot of fighting spirit. I believe his breakthrough is just around the corner.”

And it was a good news day for first round leader Rupert Kaminski, too.

The Parkview golfer may have plunged from contention after a second round 80 at the Montagu, but he still left his mark at Fancourt when his ball was mounted on the famous Hole-in-One wall at The Links Clubhouse.

“We were standing on the 11th tee and complaining to my playing partners about my up-and-down round,” the delighted Kaminski enthused. “I told them that the way my round was going, this would probably go in the hole,” a delighted Kaminski said. “We couldn’t believe it when the ball disappear down the hole. An ace at The Links, go figure! 

Click HERE to view the final result

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