Clever strate­gis­ing sees Simp­son win play-off

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - LALI STANDER

A WELL-EX­E­CUTED strat­egy at the clos­ing hole at Strand Golf Club paid hand­some div­i­dends for Bel­lville ju­nior Sam Simp­son, who won the third Bridge Fund Man­agers Ju­nior Se­ries.

Simp­son beat South African Golf De­vel­op­ment Board mem­ber Hilmi Mal­lick in a sud­den-death play-off af­ter the pair tied on one-un­der-par 71, but it was his well-planned five for par at the fi­nal hole dur­ing reg­u­la­tion play that earned Simp­son a stab at the A-Di­vi­sion U-19 ti­tle.

The 15 year old erased a bo­gey at the sec­ond with a birdie at three, and played him­self into a five-way tie for the lead with an ea­gle at the par-five fourth. He can­celled bo­geys at six and 14 with birdies at eight and 15 to move to one un­der.

“I parred 17 and was one shot be­hind Deon Ger­mishuys play­ing 18,” said the ex­cited cham­pion.

“Since Deon won the first Bridge Fund Man­agers Ju­nior Se­ries at Royal Cape, he al­ready qual­i­fied for the Re­gional Fi­nals at the end of the se­ries next year.

“Un­der the rules, the run­ner-up gets into the Re­gional Fi­nal, so that was my goal.

“I wanted the chance to com­pete for two spots to play the North and South Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship at Pine­hurst next year, but I had been leak­ing it left off the tee all day.

“So I told my­self not to get fancy; a par could get the job done.”

Simp­son and Ger­mishuys drove it down the fair­way, and both laid up to take the wa­ter out of play.

“Deon chipped it into the green­side bunker and I hit my third to 30 feet,” said Simp­son.

“He had quite a tough lie, but splashed out. I lagged the first putt to five feet and made the par putt to set the club­house tar­get at one un­der, and Deon three-putted for a dou­ble bo­gey.”

Mal­lick, a few groups be­hind, birdied 16 and 18 to tie the lead, but Simp­son wrapped up the ti­tle with a par at the first ex­tra hole.

“It felt re­ally great to win out­right to qual­ify for the Re­gional Fi­nals, rather than get in on a sec­ond place fin­ish,” said the cham­pion.

Mean­while the highly con­tested Un­der-13 com­pe­ti­tion also threw up some sur­prises.

Eric Venter from Mil­ner­ton Golf Club took the A-Di­vi­sion Gross ti­tle on 78, while Mal­lick’s younger brother Taahir shot 68 off his 12 hand­i­cap to win the Net prize.

Twin broth­ers Ni­cholas and An­dries van der Vyfer also en­joyed a lively con­test in the B-Di­vi­sion In­di­vid­ual Stable­ford com­pe­ti­tion at their home course.

Ten-year-old Ni­cholas net­ted the vic­tory with 51 points, off his 22-hand­i­cap, while An­dries took sec­ond on 44 points.

PIC­TURE: DOUG CAREW

Bridge Fund Man­agers Ju­nior Se­ries Strand win­ner Sam Simp­son.

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