KwaZulu-Natal’s Ronnie Maritz stormed to an impressive 12 point victory in a wire-to-wire B-Section triumph at the Indwe Risk Services SA Senior Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Magaliespark Country Club on Friday.
The pocket-sized senior from Umhlali Country Club carded rounds of 40, 39 and 39 in the Individual Stableford competition to seal his podium finish with a winning score of 118.
Louis Jordaan posted scores of 38, 38 and 30 to take sole second, finishing one point ahead of fellow Ekurhuleni amateur, Ed Wallace, who signed for rounds of 35, 39 and 32.
“I certainly was hoping for some good things to happen this week, but I never expected to win by a dozen points,” said the elated 57-year-old champion.
“When I realised I was playing against Louis in the final round, I knew I would have to pull out my A-game. The guy is nearly two meters tall and he hits it a mile. I’m much shorter of the tee, but I hit it fairly straight and I think that made the difference out there.
“But the guys better watch out. Louis only started playing golf again in April after 12 years away from the game. He has come a long way in the last six months, and I won’t be surprised if he gives the guys a go in the A-Section next year.”
Maritz, who plays off an eight handicap, shot rounds of 76 and 77 to take a three point lead into the final round. On his way to a second successive 77, the champion eagled the par-five fourth and birdied 13th.
“I hit three-wood off the tee and five-wood to half a foot at the fourth, and I went with the same combination at the 13th, but I hit it the front edge and two-putted for birdie,” he said.
“I was hitting the ball well all week but it’s a tough layout to score on, because the course is very tight. The greens have some big slopes and you have to know where it them. A fantastic course for the championship, though, with a lot of risk and reward.”
Playing partner Jordaan was full of praise for the diminutive champion.
“Well, David slayed Goliath, again,” joked the towering Kempton Park golfer. “I’m telling you, I have pegs in my bag bigger than Ronnie, but he showed so much heart out there.
“He hits it absolutely straight and you can’t argue with that. He has to be one of the toughest competitors I’ve played against. It really was a privilege to play in the company of such a giant.”
Ekurhuleni’s Barry Paul carded rounds of 35, 39 and 29 to tie for fourth on 103 with his union’s president, Martin Saaiman, who posted rounds of 37, 30 and 36.
Paul from Germiston Golf Club also won the Super Senior category for players over 60.
Lawrence Sithole posted rounds of 29, 32 and 39 to claim a share of seventh alongside fellow KwaZulu-Natal amateur, Brian Olsen, on an even 100 points.
“I struggled with everything in the first two rounds, but it all come together in the final round,” said the 63-year-old Super Senior from Newcastle Golf Club, who plays off a 13 handicap.
“I never saw a birdie and today I got one at the seventh and two more at the 13th and 14th. It was a great to finish a superb week. The only bad thing I can say about the course is that it doesn’t allow us to make excuses. A really fantastic layout.”
Final Result – Top 10 Leaderboard
118 Ronnie Maritz 40 39 39
107 Louis Jordaan 38 38 31
106 Edward Wallace 39 35 32
103 Barry Paul 35 39 29; Martin Saaiman 37 30 36
102 Christopher Cottle 29 30 43
100 Lawrence Sithole 29 32 39; Brian Olsen 39 29 32
99 Francois Thiart 31 32 36; Gordon Ashby 32 33 34; Michael Havenga 33 30 36