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Kruse slays Franssen and Strydom wants top spot back at Sanlam SA Amateur

01 Mar 2016

Tristen Strydom came through Tuesday’s first round of the Sanlam SA Amateur at George Golf Club determined to regain his number one ranking this week. Credit: Pieter Els.

Tristen Strydom took his first step towards his goal of regaining his number one ranking in the country when he made it through the first round of the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship at George Golf Club on Tuesday. The Ekurhuleni golfer beat Boland’s Garrick Higgo 2&1.

He will face Gauteng North’s Philip Kruse in the second round. Kruse beat beat Proudfoot Trophy winner Rory Franssen of Scotland 1Up.

Strydom battled his way through a 36-hole qualifier on Sunday and Monday in which his frustrations with his own game were heightened by losing his number one ranking to Marco Steyn, who went through with a 4&3 victory over the Free State’s Richard Maree.

“I’m gutted about that but I can get it straight back this week,” he said. “Obviously you don’t think you’ll be number one forever, but I was in a position where I didn’t think anybody could catch me. I was number one for a long time and it’s not a good feeling losing that ranking, so I really want to get it back this week.”

Strydom and Higgo were All Square through 11 holes, and then Strydom birdied holes 12 and 14, lost to a birdie on 15, birdied 16 and then had a comfortable two-putt for par to halve the 17th.

“My golf’s not great at the moment. I’m just hanging in there and trying to prepare myself mentally for what I hope will be a long week because I enjoy match play,” said Strydom.

Kruse was delighted with his win over Franssen.

“I’m very pleased considering how well Rory played in the stroke play qualifier. He didn’t play his best today and I capitalised on that. I also didn’t play brilliant golf but it got me through.”

David Meyers survived an early scare when he fought back from being 3Down through eight holes to winning 4&3 against fellow Central Gauteng golfer Keegan Steyn.

And it was thanks to an incredible run where he won the next seven holes from the eighth with four birdies and two eagles. Steyn bogeyed the short 15th while Meyers parred to take the win.

It was a sublime stretch of golf that surprised Steyn, who on the par-three 13th hit his tee shot to six feet while Meyers was 25 feet away. He lost the hole as Meyers made birdie and he two-putted for par.

It was this sudden turnaround in putting form that also saw Meyers eagle the par-five 11th and 14th holes with respective putts of eight and 40 feet.

“It was the first time in my career that I was down in a match play game and stayed calm, then the putter got really hot,” he said.

George Golf Club’s Jovan Rebula had a solid start to his bid to win a title that eluded him last year when he was beaten by Scotland’s Daniel Young in the final in Pretoria.

Rebula made it through the first round with a 5&4 win over fellow Southern Cape golfer Gerhard Faber.

Written by Michael Vlismas on behalf of Sanlam.

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