Golf ace Kyle McClatchie takes pole position at Killarney
Rising star on the SA amateur scene is favourite to win the 2017 Big Easy Tour
Just two days after he lifted the Western Province amateur title at Westlake Golf Club, SA’s No1 ranked amateur Kyle McClatchie rode a rich vein of form to lead the first event of the 2017 Big Easy Tour on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old from Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate crafted a magnificent seven-under-par 63 to take pole position at Killarney Country Club. He leads by three shots from fellow amateur Slade Pickering and is five shots clear of Bennie van der Merwe.
As the first golfer to fly the flag for SA in golf’s first staging at the Youth Olympics in 2014, it comes as no surprise to the pundits who follow the local amateur scene to see the Golf RSA national squad member at the top of the pile.
McClatchie came close to a maiden breakthrough on the Big Easy Tour in 2016, but was kept out of the winner’s circle at Kempton Park Golf Club by Pieter Kruger.
However, less than a month later, he won the IGT Challenge Tour’s Kyalami Challenge in just his second start on the country’s premier development tour.
His 4 & 3 matchplay triumph over local favourite Luca Filippi in the 36-hole final for the Western Province Amateur title this past weekend was his second provincial title this season and restored him at the top of the Open Amateur Rankings.
I never dropped a shot in the final at the Western Province Amateur and that was key to the win. I’ve made a good start to the season and the goal now is to just keep building on this fo
His form could not have come at a better time as he heads for the UK next week. He will try to emulate SA’s only Irish Amateur Open champion, Louis Oosthuizen, at Royal Country Down from May 11-14 and to better 2016’s tie for eighth in the Coupe Murat Internationaux de France in Chantilly.
"After France I will join up with the rest of the Golf RSA Squad for the UK tour," he said.
"I’m really excited about the two months and the chance to compete in some top-ranked international events. The last two weeks in the Western Cape has really helped to build some form and confidence. I didn’t start too well in my title defence at the Boland Amateur, but I worked my way to a tie for 13th with a 67 in the final round.
"I made a great start in the WP amateur stroke-play qualifier with a 66 and finished joint third and was never down in any of the matches in the matchplay. That’s the kind of form I hoped to achieve before I head to the UK."
McClatchie holed four birdie putts on the front nine at Killarney Country Club to offset a bogey at the third and he countered a second bogey at 12 with birdies at 11 and 14. He hit a seven-iron to seven feet and holed the putt for eagle at 15, and a final birdie at 18 helped him to set an unmatched target.
"I am striking the ball well and that always helps to give oneself chances," he said. "You have highs and lows all the time, but you have to come out of the lows stronger to improve.
"I never dropped a shot in the final at the Western Province Amateur and that was key to the win. I’ve made a good start to the season and the goal now is to just keep building on this form."