BENMORE, S. Africa (March 1, 2014) -- Thriston Lawrence became the first player in 36 years to claim consecutive victories at the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship in Hermanus Golf Club on Friday.
The Nelspruit golfer showed phenomenal form as he took on Bellville Golf Club’s Altin van der Merwe in Friday’s 36-hole final and beat him 5 & 4.
Lawrence’s victory sees him becoming the first player to take consecutive wins since Teddy Webber in 1978.
Prior to that, it was WCE Stent in 1922 and 1923. With Friday’s win, the Nelspruit teenager has become only the seventh player in the tournament’s 122-year history to achieve this feat.
Such was his dominance in the final that the defending champion was never down during the day’s play. He reached the 18th 3up and proceeded to notch up a run of five birdies to extend that lead even further, eventually reaching the 24th 9up.
But a concerted fight-back from Van Der Merwe kept the defending champion on his toes. Two birdies saw Van Der Merwe winning the 26th and 28th and two more holes, but it wasn’t enough to catch Lawrence, who eventually took the title 5 and 4.
“It feels really great and this will give me a good confidence boost for the rest of the year,” said a thrilled Lawrence afterwards. “I played well today. The first round wasn’t that great but I made crucial up-and-downs and then the second 18 I was fired up and played nicely,” he added.
Speaking about the final few holes which saw Van Der Merwe diminishing his lead, Lawrence said, “He made two good birdies when I lost the holes, and I hit a few bad shots on the last five holes but I managed to pull it through. It was a bit stressful, because I didn’t want to go to the last hole but I was pretty much in control.”
Comparing this victory to the one last year in Johannesburg, which saw him defeating Andrew Light 9 and 8, Lawrence added, “I think I played better this week. The conditions were obviously different but I struck the ball very purely so I think it’s a better win than last year.”