South Africa's No 1-ranked Kyle McClatchie and compatriots Ross Sinclair and Ian Snyman will join the hunt for the most sough-after title in amateur golf at the 117th U.S. Amateur Golf Championship in Los Angeles next week.
McClatchie from Ekurhuleni, Gauteng North's Sinclair and Snyman from Western Province qualified alongside 309 amateurs from 29 countries starting the 36-hole stroke play qualifier at the Riviera and Bel-Air Country Clubs on August 14. Only the leading 64 players will advance to contest for the iconic Havemeyer Trophy in the match play stage at the Riviera Country Club from August 16-20.
Just 64 players were fully exempt into this year's championship, which meant the South African trio had to join more than 7 000 hopefuls around the globe who had to fight their way into the starting line-up at 100 qualifying sites in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
McClatchie claimed his spot in the North Carolina Sectional Qualifier, Snyman guaranteed his start in Texas and Sinclair secured his berth in Ohio.
Reigning English Amateur Stroke Play champion McClatchie joined 64 amateurs at Benvenue Country Club in Rocky Mount, where he claimed the third and final spot behind co-leaders Australian Dylan Perry and Scott Stevens.
Perry fired five birdies down the back nine for a 65 and the American also racked up five birdies over the last nine holes for a 69 to claim the first two qualifying spots on eight under.
"I shot 70 in the first round and I got to nine under through 15 holes in the final round, but I thought I'd blown my chances after I dropped 16 and 18," said McClatchie.
"The two guys who won the qualifier finished at eight under and I managed to snag the third spot at seven under. It's just real pity that the U.S. Amateur conflicts with the Fellowship Cup Test against India at home, because I would have loved to represent South Africa.
"The chance to compete against the top amateurs in the world is too good to pass up. No matter how far I go in this championship, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I couldn't miss the chance to test myself and gain experience against this quality field."
Snyman, who just started his second season at the North Texas University, qualified courtesy of a nine under par performance at the Lantana Golf Club in Dallas Fort Worth. Snyman posted rounds of 67 and 68 to claim the second qualifying spot. He finished three strokes behind the winner Matthew Perrine from the United States.
Sinclair qualified at the Shaker Heights Country Club.
The former GolfRSA National Squad player returned successive rounds of 72 for an aggregate score of four over 144 that was good enough to earn him the third qualifying spot. Sinclair, a former Nomads SA Boys Under-19 champion and AJGA Under Armour Championship series winner, starts his second season at University of New Mexico this year.