7th October 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Van flies at Kuilsrivier Challenge

(Photo – Altin van der Merwe; credit IGT Tour Cape)

AltinVDMerwe_Trophy_papersKUILSRIVIER, 7 October 2015 – Bellville amateur Altin van der Merwe continued a dream season with a breakthrough victory in the Kuilsrivier Challenge on the IGT Tour Cape on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old posted an impressive five-under-par 67 in the final round at Kuilsrivier Golf Club to march to a seven-stroke victory on 14-under-par 202.

Van der Merwe denied a host of top international visitors when he claimed the Curro South African Juniors International (SAJI) at Durbanville Golf Club in March and five months later, came heartbreakingly close to a second international victory in the Global Junior Golf Tour’s RB German Junior in Germany.

He opened with a mediocre 70, but drew on the experienced gained abroad to open up a four shot lead on his closest challengers with a blistering 65 in the round two.

“I was pretty disappointed with the first round and I knew it would take a huge effort to get in front, especially against the pros in the field,” he said.

“I was a member at Kuilsrivier for four years, so I used everything I know about the course and everything I learned this year to get myself into contention in the second round.”

Van der Merwe reeled in four birdies to offset a lone bogey at five on the front nine. He traded birdies for bogeys for the first four holes after the turn, but ended the sequence with a birdie at 10.

“It was kind of a weird start to the back nine,” he said.

“I overshot the green at 10 and couldn’t up-and-down to save par, then made a superb up-and-down for birdie at 11. At 12, I drove it into the trees on the right and all I could do was chip out.

“Then I hit it to give at 13 and boxed the putt for birdie.  I overshot the green again at 14, but this time I made the up-and-down for birdie to end that weird run.”

Van der Merwe parred his way to 18, and drained a 22-footer for birdie at 18 to celebrate victory.

He became only the second amateur to triumph of the IGT Tour Cape and his winning score equalled the lowest 54-hole total set by Adrian Ford in the Milnerton Classic in June.

All that mattered for the Brackenfell High School graduate, though, was getting the job done.

“I lost by two shots to Trevor Mahoney in my first IGT Tour Cape start here at Kuilsrivier in June, so it feels really good to pull it through this time around,” Van der Merwe said.

“We didn’t have that many pros in the field this week, but it was really nice to test myself, and to see where I rate. We’ll have to see how I do in the upcoming events at other courses, but this kind of performance gives me a lot of confidence ahead of Q-School in December.”

Van der Merwe will only be able to bank half of the first prize cheque to stay within the amateur rules, but he was more than happy to let the balance go to the IGT Tour Cape Development Fund.

“The House of Machines sponsors a first prize of R12,000 at all the events,” he said.

“When an amateur wins, they put the balance of the prize money into a fund that is used to finance players who wouldn’t otherwise be able to compete on the IGT Tour Cape. I think that is a really neat development initiative.”

FINAL RESULT – Top 10

202 Altin van der Merwe (ama) 70 65 67

209 Chris Erasmus 75 64 70

210 Pietie Loubser (ama) 69 73 68

214 Albert van Zyl (ama) 70 69 75

219 Japie Koopman (ama) 71 74 74

223 Paul Colditz (ama) 74 76 73; Gerrit Foster 74 75 74; Philip Esau (ama) 71 73 79

224 Cameron Esau 73 71 80

225 Sevey Links (ama) 76 71 78

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