Doug masters Zwartkops to make Match Play final

Doug McGuigan starting winning from the first at Zwartkop Country Club on Saturday, and didn’t stop until he claimed a 5&3 victory over Merrick Bremner in the semi-finals of the ISPS Handa South African Match Play Championship.

“I hit one bad drive today at 10, but other than that I hit the ball very well,” said McGuigan. “I’ve played really nice, solid golf, although we haven’t had an avalanche of birdies, because there are a lot of little slopes on these greens.”

On Saturday the 42-year-old showed why he’s won four times on the Sunshine Tour, first by taking out top-seeded Darren Fichardt to make it to the semis, and then by beating Bremner to make the final.

“To take Darren and Merrick out in one day is a good achievement for anybody, so I’m really happy with that,” he said.

The Ebotse Golf and Country Estate professional dominated from the get-go, winning the first, fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth to turn 5-up.

“I was five-under for the front nine. It’s always nice to get off to a good start, because if the other guy is under pressure it just keeps mounting on him,” he said.

Bremner is no slouch, and began his comeback with wins at the 10th and 11th. McGuigan, however, had other plans and hit a superb shot over the trees at 14 to land eight feet from the pin on his way to a par. A three-putt bogey by the opposition meant he moved to 4-up.

“I turned 5-up and then lost 10 and 11,” said McGuigan. “I lost those two twice today, but on 12 I knocked in a nice four-footer and that just stopped that momentum, so I was comfortable after that.”

The 2011 Zambia Open champion didn’t rest on his lead and pitched his approach at 15 to within a metre of the flag. Bremner flew the green, and after his chip ran 15 feet past the flag he conceded the match.

McGuigan heads into the final on Sunday, where he’ll play for an impressive R300,000 winner’s cheque. His rival is Jaco Ahlers, which means there will surely be a chess match around Zwartkops tomorrow.

“Jaco has been playing well, so obviously he’s on form as well. He’s beaten some good players, so we’ll go out and see who the ball rolls for,” he said.

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