Germishuys chips his way to Pinehurst

A perfectly executed chip shot earned reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Deon Germishuys a coveted spot in the prestigious Junior North and South Championship at Pinehurst in July.

The 18-year-old Strand junior was among the eight winners and finalists who qualified for the South Final of the popular Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series at King David Mowbray Golf Club and competed for the start in the world-class United States Golf Association event on Sunday.

Germishuys won the 36-hole final when he chipped in at the last hole to win by one shot from top-ranked Christo Lamprecht and Sam Simpson.

In February, the Western Province junior prevailed in a 39-hole final to lift the SA Amateur title at Durban Country Club and earlier this month added a second Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play trophy to his groaning mantle.

Germishuys drew on these experiences after he carded an even-par 72 in the first round and headed into the final round two shots off the pace from Lamprecht and Simpson.

Lamprecht kept a firm grip on the lead with birdies at the 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th and 14th. His co-leader slipped from contention early on, but rallied with birdies at the 5th, 10th and 11th to stay in touch and further gains at the 14th and 15th holes saw Simpson re-join Lamprecht at the front of the field.

Germishuys, meanwhile, had an adventurous start to the final round. He mixed three bogeys with two pars, a pair of birdies and eagles at both par fives (6th and 9th).

‘It was a bit up and down, but I stayed patient and produced the shots when it counted to turn five under,’ said the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member. ‘After birdies at 11 and 13, I just missed out on an eagle at 14 to make it a three-way tie for the lead.’

He holed the birdie putt, though, and moved within a shot of the leaders at nine under.

‘Christo dropped a shot at 17, but Sam was still in the lead heading down the last,’ said Germishuys. ‘He chipped it close, but his par putt missed. That’s when I knew I still had a chance to win.

‘I’ve played King David Mowbray many times, but the tee at the 18th was set forward. I’d never played it from that position, so instead of going with driver, I took 2-iron and drove it down the middle. I had 116 metres left to the flag. The pin was set back left with water on the left of the green, so I took a soft gap wedge to avoid the water.

‘The ball was on the flag all the way, but it pitched at the back and bounced the rough. I had about 15 metres to the flag. I went with the gap-wedge and I just had a feeling I would sink it. It was on line all the way and we watched pitch and roll into the hole. It was the best feeling in the world.’

Germishuys signed for a seven-under 65 to celebrate victory on nine under.

He has enjoyed an incredible run of form over the last nine months, sparked by his success in the first Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series event in June last year.

He rose to fourth in the Open Amateur rankings and climbed to second in the Junior standings after winning SA amateur golf’s flagship event and winning the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play title for a second time.

The Helderberg resident also earned junior and senior national colours and was a member of the victorious teams that garnered victory for South Africa in the All-Africa Junior Golf Challenge and Africa Region 5 Golf events. In June, he will be part of a four-man team travelling to Japan to fly the flag for South Africa in the Junior Golf World Cup.

‘I can definitely date my success back to the first Bridge Fund win,’ said Germishuys.

‘I hadn’t won for two years, but getting back into the winner’s circle at Royal Cape sparked something. Shortly after, I won the Southern Cape Open and a second Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series title and had a bunch of top-five and top-10 finishes last season.

‘I had to fight really hard to win with such a strong field. Christo and Sam played incredibly well, and Tyran Snyders and Ayden Senger were always threatening. It was really tight, right down to the last hole. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I am very excited to go to America. To win the spot to play in one of the most prestigious junior events is a huge honour.’

Germishuys will be joined by the winner of the North Final, to be decided at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Sunday, 22 April in North Carolina.

The duo will compete in two warm-up events in North Carolina before they join the field of 90 boys and 90 girls who will compete in the 54-hole stroke play event at Pinehurst from 2-4 July.

Final Result

135 – Deon Germishuys 70 65

136 – Christo Lamprecht 68 68; Sam Simpson 68 68

141 – Ayden Senger 71 70

143 – Tyran Snyders 70 73

148 – Keyan Loubser 73 75

151 – Jordan Rothman 75 76

159 – Connor de Groote 83 76

Photo: GolfRSA