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McClatchie set to mount US Amateur challenge

14 Aug 2017

Kyle McClatchie; credit Wendy McClatchie

South Africa’s Kyle McClatchie is primed to start the 117th US Amateur today alongside compatriots Ian Snyman from Western Province and Gauteng North’s Ross Sinclair in Los Angeles.

The South African trio will be among 312 amateurs seeking to etch their name into history next to past champions like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar.

One of the most prestigious amateur golf championships in the world, the U.S. Amateur tees off with a 36-hole stroke play qualifier at the Riviera Country Club and Bel Air Country Club and the Ekurhuleni golfer liked what he saw during his two practice rounds on the weekend.

“Both courses are really good,” said the GolfRSA National Squad member. “I had two very solid practice rounds and I’m looking forward to starting on Monday.

“The Riviera has been shortened to a par 70 test over 6, 649 metres and it’s a bit longer than the Bel Air layout. The course is amazing and you can see why they rate it so highly.

“It’s a real challenge off the tees and you hit a lot of drivers and mid to long irons into the greens. The grass is the same as back home, so that’s a big bonus for me. It’s the kind of course you can’t really try to overpower, or you’ll be in trouble.

“Bel Air is also a par 70, but only 6,178 metres long. The course’s defence is its greens. They are really tricky and if you get above the hole, you've got trouble. Putting the ball in the correct places from tee to green is going to be key to scoring.

“The build-up has been fantastic and I'm really excited to get going. The championship is run like a pro event and it makes everything feel really special out here. I'm really looking forward to testing myself on the highest level in amateur golf.”

Following the stroke play qualifier on Monday and Tuesday, the field will be cut to the leading 64 players for the match play stage.

The round of 64 match play begins on Wednesday, followed by the round of 32 and the round of 16 on Thursday and the quarter-final matches on Friday. The semi-finals are played on Saturday and the 36-hole final round on Sunday.

The winner of the U.S. Amateur earns exemption into the Masters, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship, while the runner-up earns spots in the Masters and U.S. Open. With rewards like that, McClatchie said it’s tough not to think about what could happen if he wins.

“It’s human nature to think about it, but once you hit that first shot, you have to stick to your game plan and keep a positive attitude,” said the 19-year-old from Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate. “You have to try to stay in the moment and remember that it’s a marathon, not a race.”

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

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