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'The Turn': Prodigious Aldrich Potgieter showcases dynamic mental approach

4 Min Read



    Written by Jimmy Reinman

    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Aldrich Potgieter continued his evolution and assimilation into professional golf Saturday at the Final Stage of PGA TOUR Q-School presented by Korn Ferry. Potgieter played his third round at Sawgrass Country Club, posting four birdies against three bogeys for a 1-under 69, nine shots better than the 78 he opened with on the same course in the first round.

    After winning medalist honors at the Second Stage of Q-School, Potgieter sits T54 at even par, seven shots back of the threshold for earning his PGA TOUR card (top five and ties).

    The 19-year-old returned to a track that got the best of him Thursday, looking for revenge but with an approach and demeanor far beyond his years.

    Despite opening Final Stage with an 8-over round on Sawgrass Country Club, Potgieter displayed his fortitude on Friday by carding a 63, one shot off the course record at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley Course. Potgieter began to carry that momentum into Saturday, birdieing two of his first three holes. Unfortunately, the short game wasn’t quite as hot. While Potgieter consistently found himself with birdie looks, he couldn’t convert those into negative numbers. A fate known all too well by touring professionals.

    “I started off pretty well,” Potgieter told PGATOUR.COM following his round. “Had the momentum, was driving it really well but just couldn’t get it close. (I) Kept leaving myself 25-foot putts and just kept leaving them short.”

    Bryan brothers talk about Aldrich Potgieter's game

    Despite the short game, the ball speed is as advertised. On Saturday, Potgieter was routinely 40 to 50 yards ahead of playing partners Keenan Huskey and Josh Creel, leaving himself flip wedges into most of the par 4s. His drive on the 419-yard seventh hole traveled 350 yards in the air, followed by a simple toss pitch to the green that Potgieter converted for birdie.

    Someone with that kind of power would typically look to pull driver at any and all opportunities. Potgieter is built a little different.

    “I hit driver on the first hole, and was almost too close. Left myself a sandy, weird lie.," he said.

    Prior to the tournament, Potgieter headed to the Titleist equipment truck looking to add something to his bag, a 2-iron, to deal with the 30mph gusts blowing through Ponte Vedra Beach. The 2-iron has flashed throughout the weekend in northeast Florida, with generally positive results. Exceptions include an over cut shot on the par-5 fourth hole Saturday that found the trees and had to be chipped back into the fairway, leading to an inopportune bogey.

    “Yeah if I take driver there I probably drive it through the fairway," He said. "Decided to pull back, not going to go for the green anyway. Just tried to play the iron up into the wind and left the clubface open a bit.”

    Aldrich Potgieter tests a new shaft on the range

    Looking across the world of golf, it isn’t hard to find teenagers that hit the cover off the ball. Just look at 14-year old Charlie Woods driving over greens at the PNC Championship, playing at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. Where Potgieter separates himself from other members of Young Bombers Anonymous is his mental approach.

    Following his round, the teenager was asked if he gets nervous playing for a PGA TOUR card amongst the world’s best in such a high-pressure situation. He replied with a simple “not really."

    Potgieter has already played in three major championships: this year’s Masters and U.S. Open and the 2022 Open Championship, of which he gained exemptions through his win at the 2022 Amateur Championship. Additionally, he competed in the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday and the Rocket Mortgage Classic this year on the PGA TOUR.

    “I know my game is good enough,” Potgieter said. “And obviously having the Korn Ferry Tour starts locked up, that helps a ton. I don’t even know where I’m sitting on the leaderboard. I just know if I can post a low one tomorrow, I could have a chance at that top five.”

    Potgieter sits seven shots back of the top five threshold that would etch his name into a TOUR card. Notably, he shot 7-under on Friday at Dye’s Valley, where he will return Sunday.

    You can catch the full all-access docuseries starring Potgieter when "The Turn: Q-School presented by Korn Ferry" hits streaming Dec. 20 on PGATOUR.COM and YouTube.

    Jimmy Reinman is a member of the PGA TOUR's digital content team. A native of Florida’s Space Coast, he is passionate about golf’s most emboldened characters and bizarre lore. He dreams of one day making center-face contact with a long iron.

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