CARLETON, S. Africa (March 22, 2014) -- Reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Thriston Lawrence fired a superb four-under-par 68 at Rustenburg Golf Club to join Gauteng North Stroke Play champion Keegan de Lange, Douglas McCabe and Jason Viljoen in the lead at the North West Open Championship on Friday.
On a high scoring day, 27 players in the field of 162 broke par, however, and the leaders are bound come under pressure from the chasing pack.
Local favourite Aubrey Beckley leads the chase from one shot back alongside SA Stroke Play Championship runner-up, Stefan Cronje, the country’s number five ranked Gerlou Roux, Tristen Strydom, Gareth Clements and Renaldo Schoenfeld.
SA number two Zander Lombard heads the large bus at two-under-par 70 alongside Evance Vukeya, Carlo O’Reilly, Kevin Smith, Johann Germishuys, Gregory Royston, Matthew Spacey and Philip Geerts from Italy.
And if that is not enough pressure on the top four, one of the country’s top juniors, Hennie du Plessis from Limpopo, is just three strokes adrift in a tie for 19th alongside Albert Venter, James du Preez, Charlie Spencer-White, Philip Kruse, Nicholas Gillespie, Reinhard Blaauw and Ludovic Bax from Mauritius.
All eyes will be on the top four, though, as action tees off in Rustenburg today, and Lawrence is certainly the man to watch.
The Mpumalanga junior holds the third spot in the South African Golf Association’s Open Amateur rankings on the back a KwaZulu-Natal Stroke Play Championship victory, a runner-up finish at the Gauteng North Stroke Play and his successful title defence in the Sanlam SA Amateur this month.
No doubt the home crowd will be cheering for Beckley, though.The 19-year-old won the Ekurhuleni Open last year and posted top five finishes at the Prince’s Grant Invitational and KwaZulu-Natal Championship.