CAPE TOWN, South Africa (Feb. 27, 2012) -- Western province golfer Dylan Raubenheimer struck a winning note for the country’s junior golfers when he held his nerve to win the Stroke Play Qualifier at Sanlam South African Amateur Championship on Tuesday.
But there was a little more at stake for the 16-year-old Strand golfer than lifting the prestigious to lift the Proudfoot Trophy at Mowbray Golf Club. Raubenheimer may have won the qualifier for his father, Paul, but now he wants to win the Sanlam SA Amateur for his idol, Ernie Els.
Raubenheimer will depart for Florida in the United States next week with three other members of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation to spend a week playing golf with Els.
“I would like nothing better than to get on that flight with the Sanlam SA Amateur trophy in my lap,” gushed the teenager.
Raubenheimer fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 to leapfrog the country’s number one ranked player, Brandon Stone and top English player amateur, Toby Tree for victory on a winning score of 10-under-par 134.
“I told my dad I would win give him a 50th birthday present he would never forget,” the Paul Roos learner said. “My dad is my biggest supporter and my biggest fan. He never complains and he just supports me unconditionally. It felt so great to be able to pull off the win for him.”
Paul Raubenheimer was as thrilled to see his son lift the trophy that bears the names of golfing greats such as Mark McNulty, Tony Johnstone and Trevor Immelman.
“As a dad, I couldn’t be any prouder,” he said. “Moments like these make every sacrifice worth it; the hard work, the driving around, the blood, sweat and tears. I’m just really, really proud of my son.”
To reach his goal, Raubenheimer will have to survive the next five rounds.
“I won a Mini Masters tournament here in 2011 in rounds of 66 and 71, so I knew what kind of approach I had to take in the qualifier but I was worried about my chances after I struggled at the SA Stroke Play with my swing,” Raubenheimer explained.
“I had a couple of lessons with the guys from SwingFit and I haven’t hit the ball better than this week.
“I’m really excited to get going now.”
The teenager said Stone, who carded a 66 and Tree, who returned a 68, as well as SA Stroke Play champion Haydn Porteous, will be tough opponents to face.
“Luckily I don’t play them for a few rounds,” he said.
“I’ll be able to ease into it against Phillip (Kruse). He is also a junior and we know each other well. After that it will get a bit tougher. I’ll have to change my approach, because match play is a different ball game. I will have to get a little more aggressive, but there are holes here you can attack.”
Scotland’s Brian Soutar tied for fourth alongside Limpopo’s CJ du Plessis and Western Province amateur JP Strydom, who both carded 68s.
The Scottish Golf Union Men’s Squad player, who also fired a flawless 65, said he will be throwing everything into mix to win the title.
“The Sanlam SA Amateur Championship ranks right up there with winning the Scottish Amateur for me,” he said.
“It’s a very prestigious tournament with a long history and it’s steeped in tradition. You just have to look at the international entries to realise how this how this tournament has grown in stature on the global amateur circuit.
“I’m certainly going to try to take the trophy back to Britain for a third year running.”
The final cut to 64 players was set at four-over-par 148 with 10 players contesting one spot for the final field, which was won by the junior Phillip Kruse.