Victoria’sVan de Merwe shines at Selborne

2008-01-28 00:00

Christiaan van der Merwe of Victoria Country Club got the scent of a possible victory in the Pro Shop KwaZulu 72 holes Natal Open strokeplay golf championship at Selborne on the Natal south coast yesterday when he surged up the leaderboard during the third round yesterday morning.

But in the afternoon, he was blown out of contention as he followed his second round of 73 with an afternoon 79. That gave him a 295 total.

It left him joint eighth, six shots ahead of eventual winner Dan O’Reilly of Benoni Lakes, who had four consistent rounds of 71 72 73 and 73 for a total of 289.

But at least the Maritzburg man can take solace in the fact that he was the leading KwaZulu-Natal player in a tournament dominated by visiting golfers from the other provincial players around the country.

Jared Harvey of Royal Durban was the next best of the locals, two behind Van der Merwe on 297, with Rob Seiler of Richards Bay on 298.

Michael Palmer of Bryanston, who had set the pace in the first two rounds to lead the halfway mark at 139 — three under par — had a Sunday he would best forget. Between a string of par holes in the third round he had a double drop at the fourth and was also three over at the 12th. That ended his claims as he posted an 81 after rounds of 68 and 71 on the first two days. He was unable to make up lost ground in the afternoon and had to settle for a 77 on his card and joint 14th spot overall.

The championships, played in ideal weather all weekend although there was a north-easterly wind yesterday, saw the golfers from Gauteng and Western Cape, in particular, dominate.

Following O’Reilly were Adrian Ford (Durbanville), Dylan Fritelli (Irene), Jake Roodman (Fancourt), Aaron Russell (Westlake) and Dewald Smit (Schoeman Park) occupying joint second place

0n 292, which was three behind the winner with PG van Zyl (Witbank) on 294 and Ryan Clarke (Royal Johannesburg), Darron Lloyd (Spalding GC England) and Christiaan van der Merwe next up on 295. As the South African Amateur championship is to be held at Royal Durban early in March, this KZN event was a good test for the top golfing talent in the land.

A qualifying tournament for the Amateur will be held at Mount Edgecombe next Sunday.

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