Cape Town - History beckons for South Africa’s two top-ranked golfers – Casey Jarvis and Caitlyn Macnab – as the Ekurhuleni pair go in search of the South African Amateur Championship titles to complete their dreams of winning the elusive SA Amateur doubles at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.
Macnab, the winner of the Aon South African Stroke Play title at Royal Johannesburg on her 18th birthday earlier this week, goes up against 14-year-old surprise package Kyra van Kan for the biggest prize in amateur golf in South Africa.
Macnab defeated Gabrielle Venter 3&2 in the quarter finals before edging No 2-ranked Kaylah Williams 3&2 in the semi-final.
The 18-year-old may head into the final as an overwhelming favourite, but she remains acutely aware that in match play golf anything is possible.
“I’ve got to go out there and stick to my game plan as I have been doing all week,” she said. “I know Kyra well since we both play for Ekurhuleni Women’s Golf. She is a real fighter so I can’t afford to let my guard down for a minute.”
For Van Kan, just reaching the final was beyond her wildest dreams at the start of the week.
She will be eager to keep her good form going after defeating Kiera Floyd 5&4 in the quarter final and former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley 1-up in the semi-final in a day of intense golf.
“It feels like I’m in a dream, but I’ve got to believe that I can beat Caitlyn tomorrow. I know I’m going to need to be really solid and hole a lot of putts, but I did it today against Kaiyuree, who is also a top ranked golfer. There’s no reason why I can’t do it against Caitlyn,” she said.
On the men’s side, South African No 1 Casey Jarvis takes on three-time Scottish cap James Wilson, knowing that a win will place him alongside some of the greats of South African golf as a winner of both the SA Stroke Play and SA Amateur in the same calendar year.
It’s a lot of pressure on his 16-year-old shoulders, but Jarvis – who shot -25 at Randpark Golf Club a week ago to win the SA Stroke Play title – feels that it is his time after edging former champion Christo Lamprecht 2&1 in the quarter-final and England’s Joseph 2&1 in the semi-final.
“I’ve just got to play the game I have been playing,” he said.
“It’s been working for the last few months and I’m really excited to have a chance to win the title. James is a really good player and to be honest I really haven’t been putting well all week, so I need to stay patient and hopefully the putts will start to drop.”
Scottish National Squad member Wilson from Balmore Golf Club will be hoping that experience counts in his favour as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Michael Stewart (2011), Brian Soutar (2012), Daniel Young (2015) and Craig Ross (2016) and become the fifth Scottish golfer to claim the title in the last decade.
The 23-year-old, who has a degree in psychology to his name, needed an eagle on the 19th hole to eliminate 16-year-old Christiaan Maas in the quarter final. He edged England’s Jake Bolton 3&2 to get into the championship final.
“Casey’s been shooting some great numbers, but I can’t focus on what he’s doing,” said Wilson. “All I can do is concentrate on my own game, follow the same processes that I have been doing and see what happens. I have had a great championship so far, and I really like the challenge the East Course poses. It’s a wonderful match play track, with four gettable par fours and a very demanding layout. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it.”
In the Women’s Flight Division, Ineke Brynard will also have some pressure on her shoulders to follow in the footsteps of older sister Shani, who won the B-Division title last year.
The De Zalze junior beat Elizabeth Lightley at the 21st Hole in the quarters, and defeated Kim Turgut 2-up to book a date with Ladina Semadeni. The Swiss golfer has been in South Africa for about four weeks and was thoroughly pleased to make it to the final in her first appearance.
“It’s such a great idea this, to hold the men’s and women’s championships together,” said Semadeni, who won 4 & 3 against Kamaya Moodliar – the B-Division winner of the SA Women’s Stroke Play on Tuesday – in the morning and beat Irene Nakalembe from Uganda 3 & 2 in the afternoon.
“It’s great to see so many people out here supporting the players and we are really enjoying the vibe and the courses. My favourite is the East Course; it just suits my game better. I’m excited to play against Ineke in the final; I think it’s going to be a great contest.”
James Wilson SCO beat Jake Bolton ENG 3 & 2;
Casey Jarvis beat Joseph Long GBR 2 & 1;
Caitlyn Macnab beat Kaylah Williams 3 & 2;
Kyra van Kan beat Kaiyuree Moodley 1-Up;
Women’s Flight Division
Ladina Semadeni SUI beat Irene Nakalembe UGA 3 & 2;
Ineke Brynard beat Kim Turgut 2Up;
Jake Bolton ENG beat Olly Huggins GBR 1-Up;
James Wilson SCO beat Christiaan Maas 19th hole;
Casey Jarvis beat Christo Lamprecht Jnr 2 & 1;
Joseph Long GBR beat Aneurin Gounden 1Up;
Caitlyn Macnab beat Gabrielle Venter 3 & 2;
Kaylah Williams beat Nadia van der Westhuizen 2 & 1;
Kaiyuree Moodley beat Larissa du Preez 6 & 4;
Kyra van Kan beat Kiera Floyd 5 & 4;
Women’s Flight Division
Irene Nakalembe UGA beat Anita Chen 5 & 4;
Ladina Semadeni SUI beat Kamaya Moodliar 4 & 3;
Ineke Brynard beat Elizabeth Lightley 21st Hole;
Kim Turgut beat Ellandri van Heerden 6 & 5;