Strong match play start for Riekus

Riekus Nortje blasted his way to a 5&4 victory over Ryan Tipping during the first morning of the ISPS Handa Match Play Championship, never looking as if he would lose.

“It’s a pretty good start,” said Nortje. “I didn’t play my best, but it was solid from tee to green and I made some putts. I lost a hole on the 12th, but I made birdie the hole after to get it back,” he said.

The three-time Big Easy Tour winner turned pro this year, which means his match play memories from his amateur days are still fresh. He cruised right back into the zone at Zwartkop Country Club.

“I played a lot of match play as an amateur, and I enjoy it quite a bit. It gives you a chance to go for everything. I played the SA Amateur Match Play and a couple of match play test matches. All of the under-23 IPTs are matchplay, and I turned pro at the beginning of the year, so those are all fresh in my mind,” he said.

One of his most memorable experiences came at Durban Country Club a few years back. He and the Southern Cape team made history there.

“A couple of years ago at Durban Country Club we won the B-section. That was a good year for me, because it was the first time the Southern Cape team participated. I won the B-section at under-23 level as well,” he said.

The course is similar to Durban Country Club in length, and Nortje was excited about the prospect of making plenty of birdies and eagles. It’s match play paradise.

“It’s not the longest course, but you’ve got to think around here. It’s got a lot of dog legs, and you’ve got to hit it in the right areas, so you can just step up and bomb it,” he said.

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