JA­SON SMITH

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Amateur Scene -

Free State Open, Mac­cau­vlei GC Scores: 65-70-66-72 (273) Run­ner-up: An­dre Nel 73-67-67-69 (276) How he did it: It was a first win since 2014 for Smith (Irene), who had fallen to No 15 in the Golf Di­gest rank­ings at the end of 2016. Smith, 22, played for SA in the 2014 World Am­a­teur in Ja­pan af­ter win­ning the SA Stroke­play that year, but his last vic­tory had come in the 2014 Ekurhu­leni Open. Smith led wire-to-wire at Mac­cau­vlei (he had a six-shot lead go­ing into the fi­nal round), open­ing with a 9-birdie 65 (31-34), and he fin­ished with 19 birdies and an ea­gle over 72 holes. NO­TABLE: An­dre Nel (Kingswood), 21, has been one of the most con­sis­tent per­form­ers the last two years, head­ing the Golf Di­gest rank­ings in 2015, but his only vic­tory in that time has been at match­play, the 2015 WP Am­a­teur. Sur­pris­ingly, this was his best 72-hole tour­na­ment fin­ish. He had 18 birdies and two ea­gles.

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