A high-scoring qualifier at The Els Club, Copperleaf ended with two friends ready to fight for the big prize at the Els for Autism final, writes WADE PRETORIUS in Compleat Golfer.
The Lost City beckons for Willie du Plessis and Pieter van der Westhuizen after they were counted into first prize from two other pairs who matched their tally of 50 points.
Playing under the old handicap system, the 14- and 16-handicappers had a day to remember at The Els Club at Copperleaf as they played some beautiful golf on a typically late-winter afternoon.
It was, as many of those who progressed to this year’s final, another exhibition in dove-tailing with the winners making just a single one-pointer all day. That was offset by Van der Westhuizen’s eagle on the par-five 8th hole.
‘It was a great day out,’ says Du Plessis. ‘We played really well but it was our combination work that helped put us in position. When I was out, he was in and vice versa. And now we’re off to the final. I can’t wait.’
Du Plessis is looking at an element of revenge after his ‘debut’ on the pro- am scene was rained out at this year’s BMW SA Open.
‘I’ve already told Pieter that we have to win at The Lost City because I want another chance at the pro-am. The whole vibe is just incredible and it was a great experience, even if it lasted only five holes,’ he said.
It was Van der Westhuizen who invited his friend and colleague to the day at Copperleaf, with the 16-handicapper a big supporter of the golf days.
Like many South Africans who peg it up on a weekly basis, both are massive Ernie Els fans.
‘As a South African, it’s kind of a rule that we’re born into, supporting Ernie. We have obviously followed his excellent career for a long time and if we happen to meet him along this journey, it would be the cherry on the top.’
First, they will have to beat off competition from the rest of the Els for Autism golf day qualifiers.
‘We know we have to bring our A game to the final and Lost City won’t be easy, but there’s enough of an incentive to play well that week.’
– This article first appeared in the October issue of Compleat Golfer, now on sale!