O’Riley holds on at testing Gowrie

2010-01-16 00:00

GOWRIE Farm bared its teeth yesterday on the final day of the amateurs’ Invitational in Nottingham Road.

After the dust had settled, first-round leader Dean O’ Riley held his game together in some testing conditions to add his name to an increasingly impressive winner’s list.

In its third year of existence, the Gowrie Invitational has always seen the cream of the crop rise above the rest.

“Last year’s winner was Adriaan Forde, who went on to be the leading amateur at the recent SA Open,” tournament host Guy Smith said last night.

This year’s event saw the Gowrie layout in typically immaculate condition, but the notorious wind blew on both days to really lay down the challenge to some of the country’s most promising players.

On Thursday, a northerly wind gave those playing the course for the first time a tough baptism of fire. Yesterday, however, the breeze changed direction and the added dose of rain made conditions rather devilish.

“It’s a proper test, is Gowrie,” Smith enthused. “I think some of the guys had expected it to be a little easier, but the course has always been one that rewards good play and punishes anything else.”

Certainly, from the back tees, Gowrie is a different beast when the weather plays a role. While lower scores had been anticipated in yesterday’s final round, the reality was that par was an achievement in itself.

The day’s best round went to Michael Hollick, with a four-under 66. Hollick’s day could have been even better, but he limped home with bogeys on the 17th and the exciting, water-laden par-five 18th.

O’Riley added a 71 to his first day 67, to end the tournament on two under par, 138.

Just one shot off the top spot was Herman Minnie from Centurion. His two rounds of 70 and 69 were certainly commendable, and he was unlucky to lose out by the odd stroke.

But ultimately, O’Riley’s excellent start meant he had enough of a cushion to hold Minnie at bay, and even a rain interruption couldn’t stop the country’s second best amateur from starting off 2010 in winning style.

LEADING FINAL-ROUND SCORES

138 D. O’Riley 67 71

139 H. Minnie 70 69

141 P. Moolman 73 68

143 D. van der Walt 72 71

144 J. Bekker 76 68, J. van Tonder 75 69, C. Bester 69 75

145 J. Harvey 72 73, T. Muggeridge 71 74

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