Jack Dyer can look ahead to the rest of the 2021 season with fresh confidence despite falling just shy of his ambitions in the final of today’s South African Amateur Championship.
The England ‘A’ squad member played some impressive golf against South Africa’s Christiaan Maas before being edged out 3&2 in the 36-hole final at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
After a ding-dong battle, the man from Pretoria came out on top to prevent top seed Dyer adding the match play crown to the stroke play title he won earlier in the week.
It was cruel on Dyer who was four-under par for his morning round and two-under par in the afternoon round when Maas closed out the game on the 34th hole.
Yet, once the disappointment subsides, there is plenty for the member from Boyce Hill Golf Club in Essex to be proud of as he gears up for the rest of the 2021 season.
His performance to top the leaderboard in the stroke play qualifying with rounds of 67 and 66 for an 11-under par total showed his undoubted quality.
A confident march through the knockout stages also showed the ability of a player who made a statement last summer when he shot course records during both the English Amateur (Bracken course at Woodhall Spa) and the Brabazon Trophy (Sherwood Forest).
Even though he couldn’t end his week on a high, the standard of golf on show was as dazzling as the South African summer sun.
It was most definitely a case of Maas (pictured above left with Dyer) winning the event rather than the Englishman losing it.
In the morning round, Dyer fired five birdies and carded just one bogey yet still found himself trailing by two holes at lunch.
Maas – ranked number three in South Africa – was able to play the back nine in the morning in four-under par to edge clear of his rival.
However, after winning through five knockout rounds to reach the final, the 22-year-old Englishman was not about to throw in the towel.
Even when Maas birdied the third hole in the afternoon to go three clear, Dyer showed guts to fight back with a hat-trick of birdies to level the match with nine holes to play.
Yet the man from the Pretoria Country Club was proving tough to shake off.
Maas sneaked another birdie on the 28th hole to go ahead by one as the drama continued deep into the back nine.
The South African made decisive moves on the 31st and 32nd holes of the day – rhyming off birdies on both holes to go three ahead with just four holes left to play.
Dyer’s fate was sealed when the next two holes were halved in pars to give the home hero the victory.
Jack’s route to the final
Final: 3&2 loss to Christiaan Maas
Semi-final: 3&2 win over Martin Vorster
Quarter-final: 6&5 win over Conner Mackenzie
Round of 16: 4&3 win over Jean de Wouter D’Oplinter
Round of 32: 3&2 win over Zandre Labuschagne
Round of 64: 2&1 win over Ernest Ludick
Proudfoot Trophy (above) 36-hole stroke play qualifying – Winner (-11) (R1 67,R2 66)
Photography credit: GolfRSA