22 May 2017

South Africa: Sunshine Tour Title No. 2 for Bekker in Swaziland

Oliver Bekker won his second title of the Sunshine Tour season when he took a play-off victory in the Lombard Insurance Classic at the Royal Swazi Sun Country Club on Sunday.

He beat travelling partner and room-mate Justin Harding on the first hole of a sudden death play-off after the pair finished level on 19-under-par 197 after three rounds of regulation play.

'I'll take a win, however it comes,' said Bekker. 'It was tough playing against my roommate though - you feel like you want to win but you'd rather share the trophy if you could. But obviously there's got to be a winner and I'm happy it was me today.'

Jared Harvey and JJ Senekal finished in a share of third at 18-under-par, one off the pace.

Bekker started the tournament with a superb nine-under 63, but a second-round two-under 70 left him with plenty of work to do. His closing eight-under 64 rocketed him to the top of the leaderboard and into the play-off - and all its attendant tension.

'You're always under pressure on a play-off hole,' said Bekker. 'You know you've got to hit a good shot and Justin didn't hit a great tee shot so it kind of left the door open for me,' he added of what transpired on the par-three 18th for the play-off.

'I hit a great shot. When I got there I was glad I didn't hit the flag because it was pretty close. He had a tough lie and he chipped it up to about 12 feet and I got to see him hit his putt first. After he missed, I knew I had to just two-putt and that made it a lot easier for me,' he said.

'I've always thought I've got a decent swing, and, under pressure, the basic should hold. Mostly it's been bad attitude and mistakes that have held me back. Now I'm just letting it flow,' he added.

It has been a great start to the 2017-18 season of the Sunshine Tour for Bekker, who won the Zambia Sugar Open after his third place in the 2017 Zimbabwe Open. He also came 30th in the Investec Royal Swazi Open two weeks ago.

'The win in Zambia gave me confidence for sure,' he said. 'I've played well this year. A win and a third and I did well in the last Swaziland tournament. 'I've been playing nice golf and that gives you a lot of confidence. But I've been enjoying my golf and I think that's very important.'

Perhaps he's been enjoying it because he's just got married. 'I'd advise more people to get married - it looks like it helps,' he laughed.

FINAL SCORES

197 - Oliver Bekker 63 70 64

197 - Justin Harding 66 64 67

198 - Jared Harvey 69 65 64, JJ Senekal 65 66 67

199 - Zack Byrd 63 69 67

202 - Theunis Spangenberg 66 69 67, Vaughn Groenewald 67 68 67, Doug McGuigan 65 68 69, Jean Hugo 66 64 72

203 - Louis de Jager 70 66 67, Ulrich van den Berg 68 64 71

204 - Teaghan Gauche 71 65 68, Michael Palmer 67 67 70, Luke Jerling 68 66 70, Hennie du Plessis 70 64 70, Mark Williams 68 66 70

205 - Titch Moore 70 70 65, Jean-Paul Strydom 71 67 67, Anthony Michael 70 68 67, Andrew Curlewis 70 67 68, Lyle Rowe 66 69 70, Peter Karmis 70 65 70

206 - Merrick Bremner 72 69 65, Andre de Decker 68 72 66, Coert Groenewald 69 70 67, Keenan Davidse 69 68 69, Neil Schietekat 68 67 71

207 - Stephen Ferreira 71 70 66, Christiaan Basson 66 72 69, Jake Roos 69 67 71

208 - Jacques Kruyswijk 76 66 66, Stefan Engell Andersen 67 73 68, Matthew Carvell 69 71 68, Adilson Da Silva 73 67 68, Toto Thimba 72 66 70, Chris Swanepoel 67 70 71, Martin Rominger 69 67 72

209 - Ockie Strydom 71 70 68, Alex Haindl 72 68 69, Heinrich Bruiners 66 70 73

211 - Charl Coetzee 71 71 69, Callum Mowat 71 71 69, Antonio Costa 66 73 72

212 - CJ du Plessis 74 67 71, Mark Murless 68 72 72

213 - Francois Coetzee 70 72 71, Desne Van Den Bergh 71 71 71, Omar Sandys 74 68 71, Andrew Georgiou 68 73 72, Gert Myburgh 72 69 72

214 - Danie van Tonder 69 73 72, Breyten Meyer 70 72 72, Jaco Prinsloo 74 68 72, Herman Loubser 74 67 73, Jason Viljoen 68 73 73

215 - Wallie Coetsee 69 72 74

216 - Matias Calderon 68 71 77

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