Quintin van Jaarsveld
Graham Fabricius fired on all cylinders as the Southern KwaZulu-Natal A team stormed to victory in the KwaZulu-Natal Country Districts Interzone Championships at Port Shepstone Country Club at the weekend.
The 22-year-old clinched the individual medal on Friday and led Southern KwaZulu-Natal’s surge to the title the following two days to underline his status as one of the region’s most promising rising stars.
Fabricius couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the 36-hole medal competition on his home course on Friday as he raced into the lead with a sublime three-under-par 69.
The Shelly Beach-based ace went on to card an even-par second-round 72 to claim the individual silverware by two strokes from decorated Southbroom stalwart Gavin Sole.
“Winning this tournament means a lot,” a delighted Fabricius told eHowzit.
“It boosts my confidence to know I have the ability to win against a top-class field of very good golfers like this, where I thought finishing 10th would be a good result.”
Fabricius produced one of the shots of the weekend when he birdied 14 with a sensational high flop over the bunker to go four-under.
“That shot made me feel like I had a real chance of being up there and was probably the highlight of the day,” he said.
A double bogey on the next hole brought Fabricius back down to earth but it was merely a speed bump on his road to the trophy as he made back-to-back pars on 16 and 17 and a clutch birdie on 18.
A smooth seven-iron approach from 154 metres out left him with a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole, which he sunk from a tough pin position to win his first interzone title in style.
“The final hole was a big rush,” he said. “It was exciting to have about 50 people watch my shot from the fairway and it got very quiet ahead of my last putt. I was actually shaking but I managed to dunk it and got quite a loud cheer from everyone.”
Fabricius’ win was a testament of his mental strength as it came a week after a disappointing display in the Port Shepstone Club Championships. Having won the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Closed in January, Fabricius was the favourite to secure club honours but endured tumultuous rounds of 81 and 78.
“The club champs was a bit of a bummer,” he admitted. “I was very disappointed in myself but I knew that it was just a bad weekend for me. Unfortunately, it came at the wrong time.
“That’s golf, though. You can’t always play your best and you don’t know what the outcome will be. You can only try your best and see what the outcome is.
“So coming into this tournament, I didn’t have any high hopes and felt very uncomfortable with my game, but I just took it hole by hole.”
Fabricius continued his fine form for the Southern KwaZulu-Natal A side, who won all six of their matches en route to the title.
They defeated Southern KwaZulu-Natal B 9-7, North Coast 11-5, Northern KwaZulu-Natal 9-7, Zululand 13-3, East Griqualand 12-4 and Midlands 13-3.
The team consisted of Sole, Fabricius, Jan McDermott, Robert Mavundla, Patrick Mavundla, Victor Mbhele, Gary Purtell and Elvis Khawula.
“Being in the winning team feels awesome,” Fabricius, whose performance saw him being selected as a reserve for the KwaZulu-Natal team, said.
“We’re all very pleased with how we won and being a part of it feels great. It feels like I deserve to be here and that I’m just as good as my teammates, who are all good players.”