Hurley and McElroy best in Free State Amateur
 Gary Hurley claimed fourth prize in the Free State Amateur Strokeplay in South Africa. Archive picture by Pat Cashman  cashmanphotography.ie

Gary Hurley claimed fourth prize in the Free State Amateur Strokeplay in South Africa. Archive picture by Pat Cashman cashmanphotography.ie

West Waterford's Gary Hurley and Ballymena's Dermot McElroy finished tied for fifth as South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout romped to an impressive six-stroke win in the Free State Vodacom Amateur Stroke Play Open Championship in Bloemfontein.

As Bezuidenhout closed with rounds of 65 and 70 to triumph on 20 under par 268 from overnight leader Michael Dixon of England, Hurley closed with a par of 70s to edge McElroy out of fourth prize on countback.

Final scores: Free State Vodacom Amateur Stroke Play

They finished nine strokes behind the winner on 11-under par 277 with McElroy the more disappointed of the two after following a third round 68 with a two over 74 at Schoeman Park Golf Club.

Moyola Park's Chris Selfridge saved the best for last as he followed a morning 75 with a 65 to claim a share of eighth place on eight under.

Jack Hume was tied 12th on six under after rounds of 67 and 74 while Balbriggan's Robbie Cannon, the Irish Amateur Open champion, shot 74-70 to finish joint 20th on three under.

The other three Irish all finished tied 29th on level par 288 with Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan recovering well from his opening 77 with rounds of 69, 72 and 70.

Spanish Amateur Open champion Reeve Whitson carded rounds of 69 and 73 on Sunday while West of Ireland champion Rory McNamara went 71-74.

All eight will be looking to build on their performance when they tee it up in the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship, which will be played at Benoni Country Club from February 4–7.

Free State Vodacom Amateur Stroke Play Open Championship
Schoeman Park Golf Club, Bloemfontein (Par 72)

1. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 268 

2. Michael Dixon 274

3. Gerlou Roux, Stefan Cronje 275

T5. (277) Gary Hurley 70 67 70 70 (4th prize); Dermot McElroy 66 69 68 74

T8. Chris Selfridge (280) 72 68  75 65

T12. Jack Hume (282) 70 71 67 74

T20. Robbie Cannon (285) 68 73 74 70

T29. Geoff Lenehan (288) 77 69 72 70; Reeve Whitson (288) 69 77 69 73; Rory McNamara (288) 70 73 71 74.