Aldrich Potgieter (GolfRSA photo by Ernest Blignault)
Twelve months ago, a youngster with an Afrikaans name and an Aussie twang made his first appearance in a South African national golf event when he teed it up as a last-minute entrant into GolfRSA’s African Amateur Championship Stroke Play Championship.
Though Aldrich Potgieter would not go on to win, his third-place finish caught the attention of many – particularly his third-round of 65 that included no fewer than 11 birdies on one of the country’s toughest tracks, Leopard Creek Country Club.
Fast forward a year and the reigning Amateur champion is the African Amateur champion for 2023.
Rounds of 67 and 69 saw him leading the prestigious event at the halfway stage by a stroke over fellow GolfRSA National Squad member Fabrizio de Abreu. When bad weather washed out the final 36 holes of the tournament, Potgieter was declared the champion.
“I’m so excited about this win,” said Potgieter, who is South African-born, but Australian raised. “This is an awesome tournament on an amazing golf course, and this has been a dream start to my second year on the GolfRSA circuit. We have a few big events coming up and my game is really good. I feel like I am peaking at the right time.
“It’s not the way I would have liked to win, and I feel for Fabi, who was creeping up on me in the third round. It just shows you that you have to play well in the first two rounds to get yourself up there and if stuff like this happens, you know you’ve covered yourself. I’m grateful that I played some really good golf in the first two rounds.”
Potgieter credited the experience gained in his African Amateur debut and competing in the Alfred Dunhill Championship late last year to his success.
“I learned so much last year and at the Alfred Dunhill, and I was able to use that knowledge and experience to better manage my game; knowing when to attack and when to play for position is so important at this course,” he explained.
“I still made a few mistakes out there, like the dropped shots on the par threes on the front nine in both rounds. It’s a learning curve. Looking back, I probably play those wholes more aggressively next time and not be so scared of the water.”
It has been a monumental 12 months for the Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy member since returning with his family to South Africa following eight years of living in Perth, Western Australia.
After playing his way into the GolfRSA National Squad with a series of national junior wins, the 18-year-old claimed the British Amateur Championship during the squad’s trip to the United Kingdom.
This earned Potgieter a berth in last year’s Open Championship at St Andrews and he also played in the Junior Presidents Cup and represented South Africa in the World Amateur Team Championships.
In just two months, he will tee it up at Augusta in the Masters, and he also qualified for the US Open. “It’s been a year beyond my wildest dreams,” he said. “Not only am I going to play in my most -favorite Major, but I also received an invitation into The Memorial. Then it’s the US Open in California in June. And I also get to play the Alfred Dunhill Championship again this year with this win. It's like one dream after another keeps coming true.”
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ABOUT THE GolfRSA International Amateur
Formerly known as the African Amateur Stroke Play,
this is a 72-hole South African Golf Association event
started in 2016 that brings together a highly
international field. Cut is made to the low 65 players
after the third round.
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