Dedication, perseverance, passion, as well as a real teammate, are the words often used to describe Matt Saulez’s golfing exploits.
When listening to the experts and fellow players, it would seem there could not be a nicer guy with a “killers” instinct playing golf in South Africa.
The praises lauded on Saulez is undoubtedly justified. At the South African Stroke Play Championships at Pecanwood Country Club, he finished second with a score of 26 under par. He rose to a high ranking of 2nd in the GolfRSA rankings and 1st in the SA Golf Digest rankings.
Another definite highlight was qualifying for the SA Open at Glendower having to eagle the last hole of qualifying and then beating four other players in a playoff for a spot in the tournament. He then made the cut in the SA Open. He also had excellent results in the United Kingdom as part of the GolfRSA-tour highlighted by a 7th place finish in the Irish Amateur Tournament and a 4th place in the British Amateur Championships stroke play qualifier.
Last year he was also very consistent playing golf in eight different countries around the world. A highlight was a streak of five tournaments in a row in which he finished in the top three.
He credits the coaches at TuksGolf for his success.
“One of the best decisions I ever made was coming to TuksGolf as the coaches make a point of getting to find out what every player is about and once they know there is a plan in place to improve any fault in one’s technique. My golf swing especially has matured a great deal under the guidance of Llewellyn van Leeuwen and his team.”
It should be no surprise that he was selected for the South African team that is going to contest for the Eisenhower Trophy. It is considered as the pinnacle of the amateur game. His teammates are Jovan Rebula and Wilco Nienaber.
Rebula became the first South African in more than half a century to break the curse of the Royals and win the 123rd Amateur Championship. It was during Rebula’s heroic exploits that Saulez distinguished himself as a worthy friend as he acted as a caddy over the final 18 holes.
“I felt unbelievably calm and I really just enjoyed it out there. Matt and I talked about keeping the hammer down and the momentum going. Having him on the bag over the last few rounds was a great experience.
“Sometimes things tend to get brutal because all you want to do is close it out and your mind does crazy things. Matt told me to forget about everything and just focus on what I can do best. I followed his advice and holed a six-foot putt for par to halve the hole and celebrate the victory. I can’t thank him enough,” said Rebula.
Saulez started playing golf when he was eight, but it was not the only sport he excelled in. He was also an avid cricket-, rugby-, hockey- and tennis player. He played provincial cricket as a junior. In his matric year at Michaelhouse, his peers voted him to be the best all-round sportsmen at his school.