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Naidoo nails a first-time final berth at SA Amateur Champs
- Updated: March 4, 2016
South Africa’s Dylan Naidoo will play Scotland’s Craig Ross in Friday’s 36-hole final of the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship at George Golf Club.
Naidoo beat Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent 3&2 in the quarter-finals, and then edged past Switzerland’s Loris Schuepbach 1Up in the semi-finals.
Ross came through the quarter-finals with a 5&3 victory over KwaZulu-Natal’s Matt Saulez, and then beat South African No1 Marco Steyn 2&1 in the semi-finals.
It will be a first appearance in the final for both players.
‘This is unbelievably important to me. It’s one of those things where when you start playing golf competitively you really want to be in this position that I’m in and I’m really excited about the chance I’ve been given,’ said Naidoo.
Ross, who is hoping to keep the trophy in Scottish hands following the triumph of Daniel Young last year, was equally excited to be in a final he reached when he birdied the par-three 17th against Steyn and on a day when he made a few long putts.
‘I’m so grateful. I’ve been playing solid all week and I’m quite happy that my putting has been really good this week. It’s great to give myself a chance to win this prestigious title.’
The semi-final between Naidoo and Schuepbach was an incredible contest. Both golfers matched each other shot for shot, and it was always going to come down to who made the first mistake.
It came on 18 when they were all square and Schuepbach pulled his drive into the bushes left of the fairway. He was forced to take a penalty drop, but then hit a magnificent four iron 192 metres and to within 10 feet of the hole. He missed that putt to keep the match alive, with Naidoo given the luxury of two putts for the win.
‘We both had our gameplans and we stuck to it. Loris played unbelievable golf. He made so many putts and it was a fun match because we were just going at it shot for shot all the way until the 18th. I think he just hit one bad shot at the wrong time,’ said Naidoo, who would love to win this title before he joins the University of Arkansas in August.
Picture of Naidoo courtesy of Pieter Els
Dylan Naidoo bt Loris Schuepbach (Sui) 1Up
Craig Ross (Sco) bt Marco Steyn 2&1.
Dylan Naidoo bt Kieran Vincent (Zim) 3&2
Loris Schuepbach (Swi) bt Jamie Bower (Eng) 4&3
Craig Ross (Sco) bt Matt Saulez 5&3
Marco Steyn bt David McIntyre 19th hole