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McClatchie feeling positive about the future

26 Jun 2017

Kyle McClatchie; credit Ernest Blignault.

South Africa’s leading amateur Kyle McClatchie is excited about the future following a six week stint in United Kingdom and France that featured some incredible highs and heart-breaking setbacks.

“I know it’s become a bit of a cliché, but this trip showed me again that you really can’t put a price on experience,” said McClatchie.

“Going back to France and the United Kingdom, I was able to draw on the memories – both positive and negative – from last year and in most cases, I was able to improve on my achievements in 2016.

“Having played some events last year, the courses, the standard of the competition and just having a sense of the occasion helped hugely to prepare me for this season. There were some incredible highs, like winning the Brabazon Trophy and making the cut at St Andrews. I also had my share of disappointments, like letting myself down in the final round of the Irish Amateur and exciting The Amateur with a bogey.

“But when I look at the trip as a whole, it was a remarkable experience. Looking at the two trips 12 months apart, I can really appreciate the value of experience. You don’t always know what you’ve learned, but it always pays off when you least expect it.”

McClatchie left for Ireland buoyed by his breakthrough victory on the Big Easy Tour in early May.

He followed a top 10 finish in the Irish Amateur Championship with a tie for fifth in the Internationaux de France before he won the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship on his 19th birthday (27 May).

“Looking back at the English Amateur, it was a dream week,” said the Serengeti golfer. “I played great all week and I was just in the zone. The turning point was holding on for the lead in the third round, because the conditions were brutal. Coming through that day with a shot at victory inspired me and I just kept swinging it well and putting well.

“It’s tough to regroup after a huge win like that, and again, that’s part of the learning curve. If you want to make a career out of golf, it’s something you have to conquer. You have to park your elation and your excitement and move on.”

Following the celebrations, McClatchie missed the cut in the Carrick Neill Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship, but he was the only member of the GolfRSA National Squad to survive cut in harsh weather conditions at the St Andrews Links Trophy.

The Wanna Be A Champion academy player next battled his way into the match play stage of The Amateur Championship, but lost to Finland’s Casper Simberg at the third extra hole in round two.

“I must admit I was gutted when I lost, but that’s match play, though,” said McClatchie.

“You can play really poorly and win a match or you can play really well and lose a match. It’s was hugely disappointing, but it was a knock I had to take on the chin.”

McClatchie was 2-up through nine, but his opponent squared the match around the turn. “I went 1-up again with six to play and had a putt to win the match from about 12 feet at 17, but didn’t make it. I missed a six footer to win the match at 18 and he took the match with an ace at the 21st hole.

“I made some good par-saves and scrambled well to keep myself in the game the whole day. I hit the ball solidly and I holed some great putts, but my only bogey of the day came at the third extra hole and anyway, you can’t really argue with a hole-in-one.

“Now that I’ve had the time to reflect on the whole trip, I can enjoy the highlights and appreciate the lows with some understanding. I learned something about myself, about the tournaments and the courses everywhere we went. When I look at my approach 12 months ago and this time around, I can see how much I’ve matured and improved, and that’s the real value. It always counts for something, even if you can’t the results immediately.

“It was a real privilege to gain experience at courses like St Andrews, Western Gailes, Royal Troon and Royal St Georges and I had a fantastic time with the GolfRSA National Squad players. We all gained so much from this experience and the trip highlighted some things that need work, so that’s what the next six months are all about.”

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.

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