By Lali Stander for SuperSport
Clayton Mansfield won a tight battle at Kingswood Golf Estate (Pieter Els photo)
GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA (February 21, 2018) - KwaZulu-Natal golfer Clayton Mansfield hit red-hot form just days before the prestigious Sanlam South African Amateur Championship tees off at his home course on Sunday.
The Durban Country Club player braved wet and windy conditions at Kingswood Golf Estate to beat Deon Germishuys from Western Province by one stroke for a timely victory in the Sanlam Cape Province Open.
Mansfield fired a final round two-under 70 to triumph on 11-under 275.
The win moved the recently named GolfRSA National Squad member to fifth in the South African Golf Association Open Amateur Rankings and supplied Mansfield with a huge confidence boost ahead of South African amateur golf’s flagship event.
“I’m so stoked, especially coming after disappointing results in the last two weeks,” said Mansfield.
“After a top 10 in the Free State Open and top 15 in the Gauteng North Open, I expected to do well in the SA Stroke Play and the Africa Amateur. I played nicely, but the scores didn’t reflect it and I was really hunting a good result in George to prepare for the Sanlam SA Amateur.
“I chased Deon for 71 holes and I caught him and that means a lot. I’m pleased that I put together four good rounds. This gives me great momentum to take back to Durban.”
Mansfield was one behind Germishuys and fellow Western Province golfer Chris Wicks after opening with a flawless four-under 68 at George Golf Club.
Wicks slipped from contention with a 74, but Germishuys kept control with a six-under 66, while a 69 at Kingwood kept Mansfield in touch.
Germishuys led by three shots heading into the third round at Kingswood and the reigning Southern Cape Open champion was still in pole position on 13-under after a two-under 70, however, Mansfield reeled in four birdies on the back nine for a 68 to finish two off the pace.
Overcast conditions with a threat of rain welcomed the players to the final round.
Germishuys was flawless over the first nine holes and turned two under, while a trio of birdies brought Mansfield ever closer.
“I birdied the first, but I hit it in the right bunker at the second and didn’t get up-and-down,” Mansfield said. “At the fourth, I chipped in from just off the green to a flag that was tucked on the front right. That gave me a lot of momentum. I missed a short putt at six, but birdied the par five (seven) and I made a great putt for birdie at eight from the front of the green to a back flag.”
Mansfield turned three under and dropped at 10 as the skies opened. But unlike his opponents, the 23-year-old fired eight straight pars. “Limiting my mistakes to the one bogey at 10 was the key to my victory,” said Mansfield.
“After the drop, I just stayed patient. Deon also bogeyed the 10th and he gave a couple more shots away at 14 and 15 to give me a one shot lead. He birdied 16, though, to draw level and we both missed 20-footers for birdies at 17.”
At the final hole, Germishuys hit his approach on the front of the green, while Mansfield parked his second pin high right of the flag at the back. “I hit a great shot into the par three,” he said. “I had 176 metres to the pin and I hit a 9-iron to 15-foot right of the hole. 15-foot right of flag in the back. It nearly went to a play-off. Deon almost holed his putt from the front edge. I left my birdie putt in the throat and tapped in for the win.
“It was a tough job to catch Deon, but it’s great to go home on the back of the win, and prepare for the Sanlam SA Amateur.”
Successive rounds of 67 saw Sanlam SA Amateur defending champion Christo Lamprecht tie for third on 11-under with Mitchell from Kloof, who closed with a 70.