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Close, but no cigar for KZN golfers

Posted by Gail Channell
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on Wednesday, 14 February 2018 in News

Matt Saulez2

Matt Saulez (photo credit David Rush).

It was a week of disappointing, yet still exciting, runner-up finishes for golfers from KwaZulu-Natal.

Matt Saulez (Durban CC) played the golf of his life at South African Amateur Strokeplay at Pecanwood Golf and Country Estate, but was denied the title and glory by Swede Oliver Gillberg.

Combrinck Smit (Vryheid GC) looked set to win the Sunshine Tour's Eye of Africa PGA Championships but Chilean Matias Calderon shot 65 in the final round and holed a monster putt on the last hole to clinch the trophy.

And Morgan Phillips (Maritzburg Golf Club) almost won the Senior Players Championship at Sun City Seniors but was pipped at the post by Steve Williams, who shot 73 and 71 to Phillips's 73 and 72.

Saulez was optimistic and cheerful despite narrowly missing winning one of the two biggest tournaments in the country. He had rounds of 67, 64, 64 and 67.

“It was obviously an awesome week of golf and I had the best time ever. My dad (Trevor) was on the bag which is always a lot of fun for me and calms me down a little bit. It's nice to have someone there who you can just talk to,” he said.

He felt that the department of his game that stood out for him the most was his putting. 

“It was very solid inside of eight feet. I wouldn't say it was my best ball striking week, but I still hit it very well and made a plan to put a score together. Mentally, I was in a great space and felt relaxed and calm out there,” he said.

He was a little disappointed not to win, but knows that he has a lot of golf coming up.

“It was pretty tough to play such good golf and shoot -26 and not come away with the trophy. But it was still the best week of golf I've ever had. The driver was very good all week. There were a lot of fairway bunkers at Pecanwood and I was able to take them out of play by hitting nice high drives over them,” he said.

He's now looking forward to the next three weeks in which he will play the African Amateur (February 13 to 16), an individual and team event where he'll be playing with Malcom Mitchell, Clayton Mansfield and Luca Fillipi.

Then it's the Cape Province Open from February 19 to 21, and then another huge event, the South African Amateur at Durban Country Club from February 25 to March 2.

“I can't wait to get to Durban for the SA Amateur,” he said.

* In premier league, Maritzburg Golf Club beat Kloof CC 7-5.

Toti lost at home to Mount Edgecombe 9-3.

Mount Edgecombe's team was a strong one and clearly evidence they're taking the title defence seriously.

They had Luke Mayo, Siyanda Mwandla, Greg McKay, David Brown, Dale Burraston, Graeme Inggs, Reece van Straaten and Steve Cullen.

The game between Umhlali Country Club and Durban CC '2' did not take place due to heavy rain.

David Rush

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