‘Skiddy’ slides his way to British Open

2011-01-21 00:00

NEIL Schietekat’s dreams of playing in a major came true yesterday, as he dramatically sealed one of three precious slots available for this year’s British Open at Royal St George’s, during the two-round Open International Final Qualifier Africa event.

“There were definitely a few nerves going down the 18th,” an ecstatic Schietekat told The Witness last night.

Having bogeyed the par-three 16th, the big-hitting Schietekat had to bir­die the last hole, a par-five, to seal his trip to the British Isles along with Floris de Vries from the Netherlands and Martin Maritz, who is making a return to the paid ranks after a three-year break.

“I hit a three-iron to the back of the green and then had two putts for the birdie,” ‘Skiddy’ explained.

“There was a bit of pressure on that final putt, but I made it and I am really keen to play my first major,” he enthused.

“It was obviously a good thing for me that the qualifier was at Royal Johannesburg, because I have played it so many times. I always look forward to playing competitions here, because I know the place so well,” he cheekily added.

The former Maritzburg resident has already played at St George’s in Kent, where he contested the British Amateur Championship a few years ago.

Now he has earned the chance to rub shoulders with the very cream of the golfing crop for a week, in the ol­dest Open championship in the world.

“I honestly can’t wait, even though it’s still quite a while away,” he said excitedly.

Maritzburg Golf Club star Colin Nel was also in the field, but he couldn’t add to what has been a startling month or so for him.

Even though he won’t be playing at the Open, Nel will still be heading over.

“Colin is going to carry my bag at the Open,” Schietekat said of his long-time slugging partner.

For now, though, they will both switch their attentions to the Sunshine Tour, with the next event taking them to the Royal Harare Country Club for next week’s Zimbabwe Open.

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