Eric Nel put the brakes on Ockert Britz’s pursuit of a record 13th IGT Challenge Tour title when he downed the Kempton Park pro at the first extra hole in the quarterfinals of the Zwartkop Match Play on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Centurion amateur ousted Western Province amateur Dan Copeman 2-up in the second round and beat fellow Gauteng North Jacques Rossouw 4 & 3 to reach the final eight.

“When I realised I was playing Ockie in the quarterfinals, I felt some fear,” admitted Nel. “I think anyone would have a moment facing the guy who holds the IGT Challenge Tour record for victories, but once we got going, I was in game mode.”

Nel scored first blood with a birdie at the second, but Strydom won fifth and sixth holes.

“I won seven and eight in birdies to take back the lead, and turned 1-up,” Nel said. “Ockie won 11 and 13, but I won 12 so we stayed all-square until he won the 15th with a birdie.

“I knocked in a 16-footer for eagle at 16 to halve the hole, birdied 17 to halve and drained a 10-footer for eagle at 18 to win the hole and force the match into extra time. I hit my tee shot down the middle at the first, but Ockie’s drive finished just off the fairway on the right.

“His second shot hit a tree and he finished about 30 metres short of the green. I pulled my second and also finished 30 metres short, but to the right of the green. I chipped it to three feet, though, and he just made it on the green and had about 12 feet left for birdie. When his putt missed, I just had to get it in the hole for the win.”

Nel will face Thriston Lawrence in the first semifinal.

The former Sanlam SA Amateur champion has been at his blistering best. Lawrence routed Blue Valley golfer Tristan Webel 7 & 5 in round two, mowed down Wingate Park amateur JP Cooper 5 & 4 in the third round and edged out amateur Leon Visser 2 & 1 in the quarterfinals.

“If Ockie was scary, Thriston is your worst nightmare,” Nel said.

“You have to respect a guy who won the SA Amateur title twice. He never gives up, so I expect a tough match. But that’s what I love about match play. It takes a completely different approach to stroke play. You don’t get do-overs, so you have to be on your game all the time. Should be a great contest. I’ve really enjoyed this tournament. It’s a great break from all the stroke play and nice to have something different before we start the Race to Q-School.”

In the other semifinal, IGT Challenge Tour stalwart Pieter Moolman goes head-to-head with former Sunshine Tour winner Brandon Pieters.

Moolman knocked out Pretoria amateur Chris van der Merwe at the first extra hole, but eliminated his Gauteng North SA Inter-Provincial teammate David Opperman 3 & 2 in round three. He knocked out Sunshine Tour campaigner Hennie du Plessis 2 & 1 to reach the final four.

Pieters beat Ruimsig amateur Herman Anderson 2-up and was 5-up on Bryce Myburgh through the first six holes before he routed Myburgh 7 & 5 in round two. He had a much tougher time getting rid of Sunshine Tour player Breyten Meyer, but eventually beat the IGT Challenge Tour graduate 1-up.