Clever strategising sees Simpson win play-off
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.
Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series Strand winner Sam Simpson.