An eagle finish in the third round was the kicker that helped Western Province junior Deon Germishuys claim the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play Championship title in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
The Strand golfer posted rounds of 70, 71, 69 and 70 at Bloemfontein Golf Club to edge out reigning Nomads SA Boys U-19 Match Play champion Ross Sinclair by one stroke with a winning total of eight-under-par 280.
Germishuys began the third round four shots off the pace from overnight leader Franklin Manchest and three behind Sinclair.
He countered three bogeys on the front nine with a pair of birdies, and pulled level with Manchest and Sinclair with further gains at 12 and 14. But it was the eagle at the par five closing hole that ultimately helped the 16-year-old amateur to lift his first national title.
“I hit driver down the fairway and had 215 meters left to the pin,” Germishuys explained.
“I took a four-iron and just felt great over the shot. The ball stopped about 10 feet from the hole and I boxed the putt for the eagle. I finished on six under, but had to wait to see if Frankie or Ross would match the target.
“I started the final round with a two shot lead, but I knew I would need to couple of birdies if one or both of them started to run hot.”
Germishuys offset a bogey at five with birdies at three and six to stay ahead of the pack and erased another drop at 11 with a birdie at the par five 14th.
“I birdied two of the par fives, but I didn’t up-and-down to save par at the fifth,” he said. “At that stage Frankie had fallen off the pace, but Ross was still coming at me. I just tried to stay in the moment. I didn’t get ahead of myself and just played shot for shot.”
The Strand High School pupil holed a 30-footer for birdie at the par three 16th and parred the last two holes to seal the victory.
“Ross bogeyed 16 and I had a two shot lead, but he birdied 18, so that birdie putt at the short hole definitely clinched it for me,” said Germishuys.
“I’m just seriously chuffed with this victory. The last time I won anything of great significance was in 2011 when I won the won European Junior Championship in Scotland.
“It means so much to me that I can go home with this prestigious trophy and show my parents (Essie and Bernard) and my brother (Johan) that all their support and patience has paid off. This is not just my victory, but a win for the whole family.”
Sinclair fired a tidy three under 69 to take second, while Michael Peifer from Fancourt closed with a 71 to join Therion Nel from Free State and Western Province’s Luca Filippi in third on four under.
Nel carded a final round 70 and Filippi the lowest round honour with a 68.
Germishuys will face Eric Nel in the first round of the Match Play Championship on Thursday and Sinclair starts his title defence against Free State firecracker Wilco Nienaber.
Manchest closed with a 79 to tie for 14th on three over, but the Southern Cape junior will have another shot at glory when he lines up against 2015 Tshwane Junior Open champion Otto van Buynder from Gauteng North in round one.
FINAL RESULT – TOP 20
280 Deon Germishuys 70 71 69 70
281 Rosswell Sinclair 68 70 74 69
284 Michael Pfeifer 79 67 67 71; Therion Nel 74 67 73 70; Luca Filippi 72 69 75 68
287 Kyle De Beer 72 72 72 71; Martin Vorster 65 75 73 74
288 Karabo Mokoena 73 75 74 66
289 Garrick Higgo 79 69 70 71; Dino Capazario 75 72 71 71; Brandon Gildenhuys 74 72 72 71; Emilio Pera 70 73 75 71
290 Bryce Leach 75 70 72 73
291 Eric Wowor 74 76 69 72; Slade Pickering 70 76 74 71; Otto van Buynder 72 71 77 71; Franklin Manchest 70 67 75 79
292 Vaughn van Deventer 75 69 73 75; Sentanio Minnie 73 69 75 75
293 Ethan Smith 75 76 71 71; Dawid Opperman 72 70 76 75