Aldrich Potgieter became the second youngest winner in the 127-year history of the Amateur Championship on June 18 when he beat England’s Sam Bairstow 3&2 in the 36-hole final at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
At 17 he was a year older than Italian Matteo Manassero, winner at nearby Formby in 2009.
He was also only the third South African to lift the trophy following Bobby Cole in 1966 – he was just 18 and the youngest-ever at the time – and Jovan Rebula four years ago.
At 140th on the World Amateur Rankings going into the event he was a firm underdog against the 19th-placed Bairstow, who last year came through Final Qualifying to appear in The Open at Royal St George’s. But after 12 holes he was already seven-up and although the Sheffield player hit back to trail by only two with four to play it was all over two holes later.
It was Potgieter’s fourth win of the year – three in his home country and one in Australia. As well as The Open there will be places waiting for him in next year’s US Open and, by tradition, The Masters at Augusta National. “I haven’t felt this good before,” he said.