Ahlers turns on the heat to cruise into Match Play final

Jaco Ahlers cruised past PH McIntyre 5&3 on Saturday to win the second semi-final of the R2-million ISPS Handa South African Match Play Championship at Zwartkop Country Club.

His impressive performance set up a mouth-watering final with Doug McGuigan, who was equally impressive in his semi-final defeat of Merrick Bremner 5&3.

“I’m surprised myself,” an elated Ahlers said. “I played really well this afternoon – really, really well. I’ve just been hitting it better and better every day. I got some distances right this afternoon, and everything just worked out. I putted nicely; I hit that ball so well off the tee, it’s not even funny.”

He didn’t get the fast start he got in his quarter-final in the morning when he made three birdies – he lost the first to McIntyre after his drive found a fairway trap – but after a string of five consecutive halves, he turned the screw with six wins in nine holes to wrap up the match by the 15th.

“After the loss of the first hole, I was hitting it well, I was putting well,” he said, “so I knew it was going to come, and in this game, you’ve got to wait for it. You can’t push it or it’s not going to happen.”

He won two in a row on seven and eight, and when he and McIntyre landed inches apart on the ninth, he took a read from McIntyre’s putt and they both got it wrong for the half.

But Ahlers was ruthless over the next three holes, stretching the lead to 4-up before delivering the coup-de-grace on 15 with a 10-foot birdie putt after McIntyre had missed his own 10-footer from the other side of the pin.

While McGuigan was as dominant as he was, Ahlers is not intimidated at the prospect of facing him in the final. “It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough battle, because Dougie’s probably one of the most solid players you could wish to find on the Sunshine Tour.”

Through the words of respect, it was apparent that Ahlers is confident in what he will bring to the final. “If I play like I did today, it’s going to be a very good battle. I’m just going to keep on playing like I’m playing,” he said. “I’ll hit my shots where I want to and I don’t really think about what the other guy’s doing.”

© 2016 Sunshine Tour. All rights reserved. Website constructed by OCS Sport