Crucial putts give Ahlers win over Coetsee in quarters

Jaco Ahlers made two crucial putts on the back nine on Saturday to play his way into the semi-finals of the ISPS Handa South African Match Play Championships at Zwartkop Country Club.

He defeated Wallie Coetsee 3&1 in a match in which he was never down after he started with three birdies in a row to go 3-up – an advantage which proved decisive.

“On 14, I made about a 12 or 15-footer for birdie after Wallie had got back to all-square, and then on 16, I made a four or five footer for birdie which got me two up with two to play,” said Ahlers.

Ahlers, seeded eighth, had a bye in the first round, and then defeated JG Claassen 3&2 in the second round. He had a big 5&3 win over Warren Abery in the third round, and in the round of 16, he had to fight hard to defeat Louis Moolman 1-up.

“Every day I’ve got off to a fast start,” said Ahlers. “I’ve been up through five holes every day. It just gives you a bit of confidence and momentum because you can just play your own game.”

Ahlers has played well all week, and he was feeling the confidence that breeds: “I’m chuffed with today. I hit the ball really well, and I hit the right shots at the right time on the back nine.”

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