QUICK LINKS GEAR 5 MEN’S PRO 7
O’Riley Fires, Falls Back, Still Wins
PEARL VALLEY GOLF ESTATES, SOUTH AFRICA |
Dean O’Riley is the top-ranked amateur in South
Africa, but in his start to the final round of the
South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship
Friday he more resembled a double-digit handi-
capper. The 20-year-old took a seven-stroke lead
into the final 18 holes, but shot 42 on the front
nine and by the time his group concluded the
seventh hole, O’Riley had relinquished his lead to
Graham van der Merwe.
But all ended well for the Ekurhuleni amateur.
He regrouped on the back nine at Pearl Valley
Golf Estates, near Paarl, shooting 3-under par
to finish with a 3-over 75 and a 72-hole total of
7-under 281 that was six shots clear of the field.
“I was all over the place. It was not pretty,”
O’Riley said of his front-nine adventures.
Tyrone Ryan (71) and Bryn Flanagan (72) shared
second place at 1-under 287. Another shot back
were Jared Harvey (71) and Pieter Moolman (75).
Van der Merwe (76), the first-round leader who
shot 34 on the front, struggled to a 42 on the in-
coming nine. He finished sixth at 289.
A field of 144 players started play on Tuesday.
The unheralded van der Merwe, an 18-year-old
from Royal Johannesburg playing in his first SA
Stroke Play Championship, was the surprise first-
round leader with a 3-under 69, highlighted by a
rare albatross on the par- 5 15th when his second
shot with a 6-iron from 190 meters found the hole.
“The ball struck the flag and from where I was
standing I could not see a thing,” said the elated
Central Gauteng golfer. “It was only when a spec-
tator told me it was in the hole that I realized for
the first time I had an albatross.”
Only nine players broke par in the opening
round despite relatively mild conditions. Five
players were one shot adrift — Bevan Macdonald,
Breyten Meyer, Le Riche Ehlers, Brandon Stone
Dean O’Riley’s final round wasn’t stellar, but it was good enough
to get the victory at the SA Amateur Stroke Play Championship.