Van Velzen leads by 1 into final round at Maccauvlei

Jan 27, 2024 | Featured, Sunshine Tour

From Sunshine Tour

Ryan van Velzen picked up exactly where he ended 2023 by playing the same high-quality golf as he signed for a 64 in a weather-interrupted third round to lead the Mediclinic Invitational by a single stroke at Maccauvlei Golf Club on Saturday.

Despite a major thunderstorm that delayed play, Van Velzen showed the composure of a young star who knows he belongs at the highest level of the game as he climbed into the lead on 17-under-par.

Behind him on 16-under lies the experience of Neil Schietekat who posted a 66, while the equally experienced Oliver Bekker will start Sunday’s final round just two shots back following a 66 of his own.

Further down the leaderboard, Yurav Premlall is pushing for his maiden victory on the Sunshine Tour at 14-under-par after posting a third round of 66, while Dylan Naidoo is also well placed on 13-under-par, and also with a round of 66.

But Van Velzen’s incredible 2023 has given him a quiet confidence for the challenge that lies ahead on Sunday. The former GolfRSA elite amateur won twice on the Sunshine Tour last year and came tantalisingly close to a maiden DP World Tour title in the co-sanctioned Investec South African Open where he finished second.

“I took a month off over the festive season just to reflect on how good last year was for me. I put the clubs away and had a good holiday,” said Van Velzen.

“I actually feel like I’m playing better than I was last year.”

The experience he gained from last year showed itself as early as the par-five second hole when Van Velzen hit his second shot into the water and then hit a poor wedge shot to the back fringe of the green before making the putt to save par. Then he chipped in on the par-four third hole for an eagle.

“I think that woke me up a bit because I could’ve easily started my round with a par then a double bogey but instead I was two-under through my first three holes.”

Van Velzen will have a world of experience around him on Sunday as he tees off in the final group alongside Bekker and Schietekat.

“It should be nice. I think I’ll be quite calm out there in the final round.”

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