McClatchie stands firm to become first South African winner of English Strokeplay in 15 years
By ECG Newsdesk
South Africa's Kyle McClatchie gave himself the perfect 20th birthday present when he won the Brabazon Trophy after a closely-fought final round at Woodhall Spa Golf Club.
He finished on ten-under par, after getting up and down from a bunker to birdie the last hole and hang on to his slender one-shot lead.
Chasing him to the finish line were the England pair of Jack Singh Brar and Jake Burnage, together with Scotland’s Jamie Stewart who hurtled up the leaderboard with a closing round of five-under 68. They shared second place on nine-under.
McClatchie becomes the first South African to win the English Men’s Strokeplay title since CharlSchwartzelin 2002.
“This is just amazing, I can’t believe it’s actually happened,” said McClatchie, who had put birthday celebrations on the back burner until after the golf. “I’ve been working my whole life for something like this and all the hard work has paid off.”
McClatchie, from Serengeti Golf Club, set off in the final round on eight-under and tied for the lead with Remedy Oak’s Singh Brar and Burnage of Saunton. The trio held a four-shot cushion over the rest of the field.
Over the opening holes, they jostled for the lead and the advantage passed from player to player as they picked up or dropped shots. But McClatchie opened up a two-shot lead with a birdie on the 12th and from then on there was no budging him as he worked his way to a score of two-under 71.
Singh Brar reduced the gap to one shot with a birdie at 12 but that was as close as he got. He needed an eagle on the last to tie but, again, the putt refused to drop and he was forced to settle for a closing 72. “I feel robbed of it,” he said afterwards. “I hit some good shots in but I didn’t hole anything. But it’s a good result and I’d have taken it at the start of the week.”
Burnage appeared to drop out of contention when he slipped to six-under after 13 holes, but he persevered and was rewarded with three closing birdies to card his own 72 and join the tie for second place. “Jack and I both played alright and spurred each other along but we didn’t hole the putts,” he said. “It’s sore for now but second in the Brabazon isn’t that bad.”
Meanwhile, Stewart was charging up the leaderboard. He started the day on four-over and looked to be out of it after two bogeys in his first three holes. However, he played the rest of the round in seven-under with a particularly impressive birdie on 18. His second shot finished on a downhill bunker slope but he deftly flipped the ball to within two feet of the hole.
He played the last 36 holes in 11-under par and said: “It really kicked off over the last two rounds and I almost got into a tie, but I couldn’t have done any more and, fair play to Kyle, he played great and was a deserving winner.”
England squad player Matthew Jordan was fifth on seven-under after a closing 70, with English Amateur champion Dan Brown, of Masham, on five-under.