Africa Amateur Championship: A final round showdown is set at Leopard Creek
Ivan Verster (Royal and Ancient Photo)
Ivan Verster (Royal and Ancient Photo)

Ivan Verster holds a one-shot over Christiaan Maas going into the final round of the Africa Amateur Championship after a dramatic third day’s play at Leopard Creek.

The 20-year-old South African carded a 5-under 67 that included nine birdies to finish the third round on 14-under-par, while fellow countryman Maas found red-hot form with the putter to make an eagle and seven birdies on the way to a course record-equaling bogey-free 9-under 63 to move into second place on 13-under.

Overnight leader Altin van der Merwe experienced a round of contrasting fortunes and settled for a 1-under 71 to sit in third place, three shots off the pace on 11-under-par.

“It was a really good performance, and I’m feeling good,” said Verster.

“I was six under through No. 11 but doubled the next hole. I managed to respond well to finish birdie-birdie, so it really gives me confidence going into tomorrow.

“I saw (Christiaan) Maas had a 63 today, so there's a low score out there. Anyone within four or five shots has a good chance, but I'll just do my best and try and keep them at bay.”

Maas, ranked No. 14 in the Golfweek/ World Rankings and the top-ranked player in the field, made a dream start to the round by going birdie-eagle-birdie on the opening three holes. A string of steady pars was broken with two back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 before picking up further shots on the 15th and 17th.

An eagle chance on No. 18 put Maas within touching distance of setting a new course record 10-under 62, but his putt rolled agonizingly past the edge of the hole, meaning he had to settle for a 9-under 63, joining Scott Jamieson, Ockie Strydom, and 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen as course record holders at Leopard Creek. 

“I thought it was a good performance, and I managed to cut out the mistakes I made yesterday,” said Maas.

“Today gives me a lot of momentum going into the final round. I suppose I’ve just been building from the first day, playing better and making less mistakes. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can continue and go bogey-free again.

“Luckily, I'm in the final group, so I can see what happens around me. I didn't really have an idea of how Ivan (Verster) or Altin (van der Merwe) were playing. Tomorrow will be a good battle, and I’m very excited about it.”

For van der Merwe, it was a day of highs and lows as the South African mixed an eagle and five birdies with four disappointing bogeys and a frustrating double-bogey at the par-5 No. 13 on the way to a 1-under 71.

The 27-year-old aims for back-to-back wins after winning the Golf RSA International Amateur at Houghton last week and remains in the hunt for the championship.

“I started very well, but I would say through 9,10 and 11, it was pretty poor and I lost focus,” said van der Merwe.

“We were three good friends playing together, so we tried to build each other up. All of us had good holes and all of us had bad holes. I tried to be more aggressive and it bit me around the turn. The putts just didn't fall like they did yesterday and when I ran it over the lips a couple times, I got frustrated.

“I'm not trying to think about winning at this point. First, I’ve got to do some chasing against two good friends. It's going to be tough, but there's going to be no mercy between us when it comes to golf, so I think we're all going to go for it.”

Simon du Plooy shot a 67 to keep himself within sight of the leading group on eight-under-par, while Zimbabwean Matthew Bramford sits two shots further back in fifth place after a 71.

Africa Amateur Women's Invitational

Kyra van Kan
Kyra van Kan is the first-ever champion of the Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational after completing a wire-to-wire victory at Leopard Creek.

The South African won the 54-hole event by nine shots over compatriot Bobbi Brown to clinch the title on a one-under-par total of 215.

“I'm seriously overwhelmed, it’s such an amazing feeling,” said van Kan.

“Finishing here on such a prestigious golf course, I’m really honoured to have played golf in front of Mr (Johann) Rupert, The R&A and GolfRSA. It's just incredible, this feeling. I'm really honoured to have my name on that trophy.

“This is something that I don't think I'll ever forget until I'm like 90. I think I'll always cherish this moment. The R&A has made this moment feel so special and I'm forever grateful for that.”

The 18-year-old never relinquished the lead throughout the three rounds and, thanks to her win, has earned places in The Women’s Amateur Championship, Final Qualifying for the AIG Women’s Open and The Investec South African Women’s Open in 2024, and the Lalla Meryem Cup and Magical Kenya Ladies Open in 2025.

“I'm really excited for these opportunities,” she added.

“To be able to go over to the UK and try and get into the AIG Women’s Open is just fabulous. I'm into the South African Women's Open, which will be in Cape Town at Erinvale. I played in it last year, so I was really hoping to play it again this year, so I’m so excited. It's always a privilege to be playing in special events. I can’t thank The R&A and GolfRSA enough.”

Results: African Amateur
1South AfricaAltin Van Der MerweSouth Africa70069-65-71-70=275
T2South AfricaChristiaan MaasSouth Africa50071-69-63-72=275
T2South AfricaIvan VersterSouth Africa50066-69-67-73=275
4ZimbabweMatthew BramfordZimbabwe40065-74-71-68=278
5South AfricaSimon du PlooySouth Africa40069-72-67-72=280

View full results for African Amateur

ABOUT THE African Amateur

Introduced by the R&A in 2024, this event aims to replicate the success of the Latin American and Asia- Pacific amateur championships that have provided a pathway for golfers in different parts of the world to reach elite levels of the sport. 72-hole stroke play event, with the winner of the men's championship earning an exemption into the Open Championship.

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