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Dylan doubles up to take another Nomads title

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Less than nine months since winning the Nomads SA Boys U-17 Stroke Play at Polokwane Golf Club, 17-year-old Dylan Naidoo from Fourways claimed a seven-stroke victory in the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play Championship at the same venue.
The Central Gauteng junior carded a final round 69 to triumph on 15-under-par 273, while defending champion Tristen Strydom finished a distant second after closing with a 75.
Naidoo began the third round three strokes off the pace, but overhauled overnight leaders Marco Steyn and Jovan Rebula with a flawless seven-under-par 65. The TuksSport Golf Academy player led by one stroke going into the final round from playing partner Strydom, who also signed for a 65 in the third round.
In the final round, Naidoo lipped out for bogey at the par-four first and Strydom walked away with an eight on his card after gumming his second shot over the green into the hazard.
Strydom added to his woes by dropping another shot at the second and Naidoo found himself leading by five with 16 holes to play.
‘I almost couldn’t get my head around it,’ Naidoo said. ‘I had a one shot lead and suddenly I’m five shots ahead. I don’t know why I ended up three-putting from 10-feet for bogey at the third, but I steadied the ship with a couple of pars and then the putts started dropping again.’
The Modderfontein golfer birdied seven, nine and 10 and notched three more gains at 12, 14 and 15. Strydom rallied with birdies at the fourth, fifth and seventh, but bogeys at 11 and 17 against a lone birdie at the par-five 12th derailed his title challenge.
Naidoo paid tribute to Strydom, saying that playing with the country’s number one amateur for 36 holes was both challenging and inspiring. ‘It was absolutely fantastic playing with Tristen and I don’t think the results are a fair reflection, because we were neck-in-neck all day,’ Naidoo said.
‘He is an incredible fighter and we definitely fed off each other. Every time I made a birdie, he would answer with a birdie and vice versa. I only began to relax a little with four holes left to play.’
Naidoo will face Attie van Wyk in the first round of the Match Play Championship after the Free State junior defeated Central’s Karabo Mokoena at the first extra hole of a sudden-death play-off to claim the 32nd spot.
‘I took some time off after the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship, but I worked hard on my game ahead of the championship,’ Naidoo said. ‘I was knocked out in the first round in my last two starts in this championship and this year, I really wanted to get a little further. My coach [Llewellyn van Leeuwen] and I put a lot of time into my preparation when I got back from Dubai and the hard work paid off, so far. Hopefully I can carry this form past the first round this year.’
Gauteng North’s Estiaan Conradie closed with a 68 to finish third on 281, while Ekurhuleni’s Kyle McClatchie also registered a final round 68 to finish a further stroke adrift.

Picture of Naidoo, courtesy of Warren Blunt

FINAL ROUND RESULTS (top 20)
273 – Dylan Naidoo 73 66 65 69
280Tristen Strydom 70 70 65 75
281Estiaan Conradie 76 68 69 68
282Kyle McClatchie 74 70 70 68
283Anuerin Gounden 69 73 69 72
284Jason Thalrose 69 73 71 71; Marco Steyn 68 68 75 73
285Dawid Opperman 73 73 67 72; Burt Gildenhuys 73 71 71 70; Jovan Rebula 69 67 78 71
286Luca Filippi 73 69 77 67
287Matt Saulez 74 70 73 70; Garrick Higgo 70 73 72 72; Deon Germishuys 67 74 72 74
288Keegan de Lange 75 71 71 71; Sentanio Minnie 74 73 69 72
289Juan-Pierre Cooper 75 73 74 6
290Michael Sherriff 74 77 70 69; Kyle Barker 74 72 68 76; Alan Lones 73 78 67 72


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