Reigning SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play champion Tristen Strydom underlined his status as one of the country’s emerging talents with a wire-to-wire victory in the IGT Tour’s fifth Race to Q-School at Benoni Country Club on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old Pretoria amateur held his nerve through an early stumble at the par-three third and a late bogey at the 17th to fire a two-under-par 70 and sealed his first podium finish on the country’s premier development Tour with a winning total of nine-under-par 207.

Strydom finished with a three shot cushion over professional Jonathan Waschefort, who carded a 67.

Fellow Ekurhuleni amateur and Strydom’s regular practice partner, Paul Boshoff, returned a 68 to finish alone in third on four under 212.

Amateurs Hennie du Plessis (72) from Limpopo and Gauteng’s Matthew Spacey (71) finished a further shot back, while Boland amateur Armandt Scholtz (71) tied for sixth with Gauteng North amateur Ross Sinclair, who returned a 73.

Strydom arrived home on the back of a top 10 finish in the Eastern Province Stroke Play Championship on Sunday.

Despite some serious putting woes, the Serengeti golfer signalled his intentions with a first round 68 to open up a three stroke lead on the field. His battles on the greens continued, but Strydom scrambled to extend his advantage to four strokes with a second round 69.

“I’m hitting the ball as well as I’ve ever had, and every other aspect of my game is rock solid, but I just don’t know what I’m doing with the putter,” said Strydom.

The young gun got his final round off to a great start with a birdie at the second, but found the water off the tee at the third and walked off the par three with a double bogey. He erased the damage with a birdie at the par-five ninth before the turn and enjoyed further gains at the 10thand 16th.

“I took too much club into the 17th and overshot the green,” he said. “I chipped it close, but once again the putter wouldn’t cooperate and I walked off with a bogey.

“I hit a great drive down the 18th, though, and followed it with a solid seven-iron into the green. I had 25 feet to the pin, so I just lagged it close and finished it off.”

Although the teenager was thrilled to win on the IGT Tour in only his fourth start, Strydom was more impressed with the way he held up during the tournament.

“It was very, very frustrating out there,” said Strydom, who had looked entirely composed all week in his pursuit of a first title.

“It’s been a long time since I had so many putts and six months ago it would have driven me around the bend. Competing against the pros on the IGT Tour has taught me a lot. I’ve always been short on patience, and I’m really proud that I grinded through the frustration and kept a cool head.

“My game is in really good shape, but I’ll work hard on the putting over the next week. I want to challenge at the Central Gauteng Open because my goal is to break into the top five in the rankings before the end of the season.”

FINAL GOLF RESULT

207 - Tristen Strydom (AMA) 68 69 70

210 - Jonathan Waschefort 76 67 67

212 - Paul Boshoff (AMA) 76 68 68

213 - Matthew Spacey (AMA) 73 69 71, Hennie Du Plessis (AMA) 72 69 72

214 - Armandt Scholtz (AMA) 76 67 71, Rosswell Sinclair (AMA) 72 69 73

215 - Johary Raveloarison 72 74 69

216 - Breyten Meyer (AMA) 73 72 71, Brendan de Lange 77 68 71, Stefan Cronje (AMA) 78 72 66

217 - Jerry Steyn 76 72 69, Jacques de Villiers 80 69 68, Philip Geerts ITA (AMA) 71 72 74

218 - Divan Marais (AMA) 77 70 71, Rae Mackie 74 71 73, Antonio Rosado POR 72 73 73

219 - Duane Keun 73 74 72, Christiaan Pretorius 74 74 71, Shaun van Tonder 71 70 78

220 - Herman Minnie 77 70 73, Joubert van Eeden (AMA) 74 72 74, Dwayne Coetzee 72 72 76, Simon Kruger (AMA) 73 71 76, Jacquin Hess 77 72 71

221 - Hilton Hughes (AMA) 75 74 72, Glen de Waal NAM 74 75 72, Danie Pretorius 72 72 77, Mpho Mafishe 72 71 78

222 - Dylan Docherty (AMA) 75 71 76, Keegan Steyn (AMA) 73 71 78, Niel Meyer 72 77 73, Justin Levy NED 73 77 72

223 - Otto van Greunen 73 74 76, Nobuhle Dlamini SWZ 75 71 77, Russel Franz 75 75 73, Tjaart Van Wyk (AMA) 75 75 73

224 - Teagan Moore (AMA) 73 74 77, Clinton Cheia (AMA) 75 73 76, Conway Kunneke 77 72 75

225 - Nico Du Buisson (AMA) 76 72 77, Coert Groenewald 77 71 77

226 - Wesley Horngren 74 75 77

227 - Stephan Erasmus (AMA) 74 73 80, Romano Saincic 77 72 78

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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