Last man standing Kyle McClatchie strung together four outstanding rounds at Gullane Golf Club to tie for ninth in the prestigious Carrick Neill Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship on Sunday.
The former Youth Olympian from Ekurhuleni made the most of the mild weather conditions in round one to open with a 69 and carded a one over 72 in round two to survive cut – set at one-under-par 141 – while rest of the 10-strong SA crew in the world-class international field received their marching orders.
‘The morning starters got the worst of the weather and then there was a weather suspension for mist of more than two hours, as well,’ said McClatchie from Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate.
‘It worked out well for me that I teed off in the afternoon in the first round. I had to come back to finish the first round and played the second directly after. I knew it was going be tough and I would be out there for a long time, but if I kept my head down and played my own game, it would stand me in good stead.’
McClatchie vaulted up the leaderboard with a flawless 65 in the third round and closed with a 71 to grab a share of ninth with Welshman Jack Davison and Australian Zach Murray at seven under 277.
‘I was really chuffed with my game this week,’ said the 2016 Boland Stroke Play champion.
‘I played well at home this season, and I was a little anxious to see how my game would hold up to such a great international field. I had a game plan for the course and I stuck to it and fortunately, it worked out for me. The first round draw didn’t hurt, either. It was a lot of fun having my dad (Ryan) on the bag; it just kept the whole event normal and relaxed.’
The top 10 in Scotland followed hot on the heels of a tie for eighth at the Coupe Murat Internationaux de France in Chantilly, France last week. The key to McClatchie’s performance was his ability to erase his mistakes. Although the Wanna Be A Champion golfer dropped eight shots in three rounds, he was able to counter with 15 birdies.
‘I capitalised on the good conditions in the third round to shoot 65, but I have to admit the afternoon was a bit of a struggle,” he said. “I made birdie at six, but bogeyed 12 and 16, so finishing with a birdie was a real bonus.
‘I am really happy with the top 10 result after a good week in France last week and hopefully I can keep this form going at St Andrews this week.’
McClatchie will join fellow eight fellow Golf RSA National Squad players in the St Andrew Links Trophy, which will be contested at the Old and New Courses from 3 – 5 June at the Home of Golf, including Aubrey Beckley, Albert Venter, Andre Nel, Angus Ellis-Cole, James du Preez, Jason Smith, Tristen Strydom and South Africa’s number one ranked Jovan Rebula.
While McClatchie played himself into the top 10, reigning Victorian Amateur champion Cameron John from Australia denied the Scots a home victory.
The 17-year-old from Melbourne rocketed into contention with a third round 63 after posting earlier rounds of 71 and 67 and held off strong final challenges from Scotsman Grant Forrest and Craig Howie and fast finishing Irishman Stuart Grehan with a 68 to take the biggest title of his career by four strokes on 15-under-par 269.