Johannesburg – Wallie Coetsee defeated Ockie Strydom 5-and-4 in the round of 16 on Friday to advance to the quarter-finals of the ISPS Handa South African Match Play Championship at Zwartkop Country Club.
It was the biggest victory of the round, and Coetsee's best performance of the week since his opening 1-up victory on Tuesday.
“I’ve worked hard since I moved to Jeffreys Bay about four months ago,” Coetsee said.
“We play a lot – about six rounds a week – and it’s nice to be a full-time professional again, after I worked for about seven years in the painting business.”
The 40-year-old turned professional in 1992, as a 20-year-old, and his sole Sunshine Tour victory came in 1997 when he won the Namibia Open.
“We played that in two-balls and I like to play fast, to get to my ball and hit it and be confident,” he said.
He ran up a three-hole lead after five, increased it to four around the turn, and wrapped it all up by the 14th.
Top seed Darren Fichardt seemed to be getting better and better through the week after 1-up victories in his opening matches against determined opponents.
Fichardt beat Colin Nel 4-and-3 to advance to a quarter-final meeting with Doug McGuigan.
“I made quite a few birdies and placed a lot of pressure on Colin from the start,” Fichardt said.
“He (Nel) managed to get it from 3-down to 1-down through nine, but then I threw two birdies at him to get back to 3-up.
“Then he made bogey on 12, and I made birdie on 13, which made it difficult for him to come back.”
Eighth seed McGuigan said he was lucky to be in the quarters after a narrow escape in the opening round against John du Buisson, but beat ninth seed Tyrone Ferreira 3-and-2.
“I’ve played fantastically the last two days,” McGuigan said.
“Today, I was 2-up quite early on, and I drove the ball well all day.
“If you do that, you usually put a lot of pressure on your opponent.
“I went bogey-free as well, and if you don’t make any mistakes, it’s even tougher on your opponent.”
Ferreira’s younger brother Steven beat Divan van den Heever 2-and-1, while PH McIntyre outplayed veteran Hendrik Buhrmann.
Theunis Spangenberg halted the run of Keenan Davidse with a 2-up win, while Merrick Bremner used his long hitting to shut out qualifier Jared Harvey 3-and-2.
Sixth seed Jaco Ahlers played a sublime sand trap shot on 18 to hold off Louis Moolman 1-up.
“I can’t believe the bunker shot I hit,” Ahlers said.
“It nearly went in, so I was pretty chuffed with that.” – Sapa