Bellville golfer Altin van der Merwe (pictured with Duncan Cruickshank, left, and Dale Hayes, right) claimed his first victory on the Glacier by Sanlam Junior Series when he won the A Division of the Sunshine Tour-sponsored tournament at De Zalze Golf Club on Sunday.
Van Der Merwe won with a round of one-under-par 71 on a course playing long after the heavy rains in the Boland area.
It was a sweet victory for the 16-year-old, who finished second in the Pearl Valley tournament earlier this year and was determined to claim a victory and book his place in the National Final.
“After that second place I really wanted to win one of these tournaments and I worked really hard for this,” he said.
The key to Van Der Merwe’s victory was his two birdies on holes 17 and 18. “On 17 I had to decide whether to go for the green with my second or not. I went for it and it paid off with a birdie. Then I made a five-footer for birdie on the last as well.”
Van Der Merwe already plays off a +3 handicap despite only taking up the game seven years ago, on the same day his father also started playing golf.
“We started together. But he struggles a bit with his swing. He’s a bit older.”
Duncan Cruickshank, communications director of the Sunshine Tour, praised the series for its ability to help produce South Africa’s next generation of professionals.
“We’ve already had a player who used to compete on the Glacier Junior Series turning professional and now playing on the Sunshine Tour, so this is really a tremendous development arena for South African golf,” he said.
A DIVISION (Handicap 1 – 6)
1. Altin van der Merwe 71
2. Noel Anderson 72
3. Andre Loots 75
Best Nett: Cole Cruickshank 70
B DIVISION (Handicap 7 – 18)
1. Blake Greenwood 78
2. Tristan Galant 79
3. Albert Jakobs 80
Best Nett: Adrian Storm 72
C DIVISION (Handicap 19 – 36)
1. Tian van Lill 35 points
2. Kaylah Williams 30 points
3. Seth Liddell 30 points