The 16-year-old Theewaterskloof golfer underlined his growing status as one of the South Africa’s rising stars when he eliminated Albert Venter 4 & 2 in the 36-hole final at Selborne Country Club.
The victory was his first on the South African Amateur Association’s Open Amateur provincial circuit and Loubser said the timing could not have been better.
“It’s really nice to go back to Golf Club Biella carrying some form,” Loubser said.
“Last year we were all like deer caught in the headlights when we got there. The course is really tight and heavily bunkered, so having prior knowledge of the course is definitely a plus this year.
“When you go up against some of the top junior golfers in the world at such a tight layout, you have to be at the top of your game and that’s why I am stoked about winning the KZN Amateur.
“I was struggling with my swing last year, so missing the cut shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it was still a huge disappointment. This time I will have some confidence, especially after getting past Albert in a tough final match.”
Loubser started the 36-hole Stroke Play qualifier sponsored by the eLan Property Group on the back of a joint runner-up finish in the Southern Cape Open and secured his spot in the Match Play Championship with a joint 13th finish.
The reigning Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion dispatched local favourite Siyanda Mwandla 2 & 1 in round one, defeated Central Gauteng’s Tyrone Gibb 1-Up in round two, knocked out Andrew van der Knaap 3 & 2 in the quarter-final and downed Central Gauteng’s Andi Dill 2-up to reach the semi-final against Venter.
His opponent’s casualties included Gavin Sole from KwaZulu-Natal (2 & 1), David McIntyre from Central Gauteng (2 & 1), fellow Gauteng North golfer Reinhardt Blaauw (3 & 2) and Southern Cape Open champion Carlo O’Reilly (2 & 1).
“Albert claimed a huge scalp when he beat Gavin in the first round and he defeated some other to players on the way to the final, so I knew I was in for a tough match,” Loubser said.
The lead changed hands three times over the first 17 holes, but Venter took command with a birdie at 18 to turn 1-up.
However, Loubser squared the match with a birdie at the 20th and drained an eight-footer for eagle at the par-five third to edge into the lead.
“Albert hit into the hazard off the tee at the 24th hole and took a double bogey and I made par to lead 2-up, but then he birdied the 30th hole to cut my lead to 1-up,” Loubser explained.
“I nailed two 15-footers for birdies at 31 and 32 to lead 3-up and the match wrapped up at the 34thhole when Albert drove his tee shot out of bounds. It was a great battle of wills and I really enjoyed playing him in the final.”
Luca Filippi from Western Province and Luke Mayo from KwaZulu-Natal will also embark on the return trip to Italy with Loubser and Wilco Nienaber from Free State, who is making his debut in the prestigious international championship and accompanying Nations Cup.
Meanwhile Ekurhuleni’s Angus Ellis-Cole defeated Jack Duthie from Southern Cape 1-up to win the McKenzie Cup and Basil Naidoo from Greater Durban Golf Club beat Hennie Heyns from Mount Edgecombe Country Club by the same margin to lift the Senior Match Play Trophy.
KWA-ZULU NATAL CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
Herman Loubser beat Albert Venter 4 & 2
Albert Venter beat Carlo O’Reilly 2 & 1
Herman Loubser beat Andi Dill 2-up
Albert Venter beat Reinhardt Blaauw 3 & 2
Carlo O’Reilly beat Aubrey Beckley 3 & 2
Herman Loubser beat Andrew van der Knaap 3 & 2
Andi Dill beat Mohit Mediratta 3 & 2
Reinhardt Blaauw beat Marco de Beer 5 & 3
Albert Venter beat David Mcintyre 2 & 1
Carlo O’Reilly beat Clayton Mansfield 21st
Aubrey Beckley beat Basil Wright 2 & 1
Andi Dill beat Andre van Heerden (Jnr) 2-Up
Mohit Mediratta beat Jason Viljoen 4 & 3
Herman Loubser beat Tyrone Gibb 1-Up;
Andrew van der Knaap beat Louis Taylor 3 & 2
Marco de Beer beat Teaghan Gauche 3 & 1
Reinhardt Blaauw beat Matthew Spacey 3 & 2
Albert Venter beat Gavin Sole 2 & 1
David Mcintyre beat Keegan Steyn 1-Up
Carlo O’Reilly beat Richard Joubert 2-Up
Clayton Mansfield beat Zabastian de Jager 5 & 3
Aubrey Beckley beat Shane Martin 3 & 2
Basil Wright beat Keagan Thomas 4 & 3
Andrew van der Knaap beat Elmo Barnard 7 & 6
Louis Taylor beat Darin de Smidt 2-Up
Herman Loubser beat loc
Tyrone Gibb beat James du Preez 1-Up
Mohit Mediratta beat Kevin Smith 2 & 1
Jason Viljoen beat Neswill Croy 3 & 2
Andi Dill beat Philip Kruse 1-Up
Andre van Heerden beat Nicholas Botha 1-Up