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Firethorn’s 18th hole the very best, says young star Vorster

by | Feb 8, 2021

BIRDIE machine Martin Vorster, who won the South African Amateur Strokeplay Championship at Randpark last week, rates Firethorn’s par-4 18th as the best finishing hole he’s played.

And while the Pinnacle Point golfer may only be 19 years old, he’s won tournaments on courses all over South Africa on his way to becoming the country’s No 1 amateur. He’s also excelled in international events by winning the 2017 Italian Under-16 International, the 2018 Junior Open Championship at St Andrews (Eden Course), the 2019 East of Ireland Open, last year’s African Amateur Open at Leopard Creek, and he’s led South Africa to victory in the Toyota Junior World Cup in Japan. And the SA Stroke Play had a strong international flavor to it as well as players from nine countries, including England, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Germany, took part.

So Martin’s enjoyed the privilege of playing many top courses both here and overseas yet Firethorn’s long and tough 464m 18th gets his vote as a number one: “It’s just such a challenge as it’s a narrow driving hole, it’s long with rough and trees left and that fairway bunker and trees on the right. There’s the river to take into account, and the big green with a lot of slope is well-guarded with bunkers so you have to treat the hole with a lot of respect. It’s a real gem.”

Vorster  shot 64, 65, 66 and 70 at Firethorn to win the SA Stroke Play on an excellent 23-under-par aggregate of 265 and in the final round hit three-iron off the championship tee at 18 followed by a seven-iron from 187 metres to the heart of the green and two-putted for par and an extremely satisfying victory. “People always say Firethorn’s closing three holes make for a formidable finish but I think it should be the last four holes, because the par-3 15th – especially when the pin’s back right as it was for us in the tournament – is also a demanding hole. If you can play those four holes in par you’re doing really well.”

Vorster was grouped in the final round last week with fellow Golf RSA elite squad members Kieron van Wyk (19) from Ruimsig, who finished second on 19-under 269, and Christiaan Maas (17) from Pretoria Country Club who ended up sixth on 275. They too praised our Firethorn course.

“It was in great nick in spite of all the rain and the greens were so true,” said Van Wyk. Maas, who is in Matric this year, had only one word for the course: “Fantastic!” he exclaimed.

Vorster is this week defending his African Amateur title, with the tournament moved from Leopard Creek to Glendower because of Covid. He spent much of last year on the sidelines because of a wrist injury but his golf at Randpark showed that he is well and truly back to his best. On a course he describes as best!

PHOTO – 2021 South African Stroke Play Champion, Martin Vorster and Randpark Captain, Derek McGowan

Written by Randpark Member Grant Winter
Photo credit Ernest Blignault

 

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