Ruan Korb closed out a wire-to-wire victory in the Ebotse Challenge in Benoni on Wednesday, and the Pretoria golfer collected his first silverware on the IGT Challenge Tour in fine style at the Ebotse Links.
Korb had seized control of the event with a scintillating first round 67. He pulled four shots clear of Roberto Lupini with a four-under-par 68 in round two, and sealed an eight-stroke victory over Lupini and Kempton Park amateur Ruhan van Dijk with a 69 in the final round.
'I felt slightly disappointed when I let it slip in the final round of the Kyalami Challenge last month and I was really determined not to let that happen again,' said the 24-year-old Korb. 'I tried to give myself a big enough buffer and I got the job done.'
Korb made a strong start with four birdies on the front nine and despite dropping at the eighth, he was seven strokes clear starting the back nine.
'I hit a good four-iron down the first, a gap-wedge to seven feet and holed the putt and that got the momentum going,' he said. 'At the second, I took four-iron off the tee again. I hit an easy wedge from 150 metres to 10 feet behind the flag and made the putt and I two-putted for birdie at five. I hit two-iron off the tee at seven and five-iron from 230 metres out to 20 foot and two-putted for birdie at seven.
'I went with the four-iron and the driving iron a lot this week, because the fairways are still rock-hard from winter. You never know what kind of roll you would get with the driver. It was a strategic decision to go with less club, but it paid off.'
Korb give another shot away at 11, but recovered quickly with successive birdies at 12 and 13.
'They were both soft bogeys and it didn't bother me, because I had such a big lead, but I think I felt too safe and let my focus slip a little,' he said. 'After I dropped 15, I played the last three holes safe. Just fairways and greens to the finish line.'
His 12-under-par winning total was a reflection of his superb ball-striking week.
'I hit the ball well all week,' he said. 'In the final round the wind showed up at the fourth hole, but I still hit 13 out of 14 fairways in regulation.
'It feels really good to get this win. It's what you practice for and it was great to watch that last putt go in the hole and know the victory was mine. I've been working really hard this season and it's so great to get the pay-off.
'I hit three sub-par rounds this week, and that was the key to winning. I wouldn't be able to do this without the support of my parents (Callie and Renata) and I'm dedicating my first win to my biggest supporters.'
Lupini closed with a 73, and Van Dijk carded 72 to share second at four-under, with Dean O'Riley, Teboho Sefatsa and Maritz Wessels a further shot back in joint fourth.
All competitors SA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as AMA
204 - Ruan Korb 67 68 69
212 - Ruhan van Dijk AMA 70 70 72, Roberto Lupini 68 71 73
213 - Dean O'Riley 72 72 69, Teboho Sefatsa 70 72 71, Maritz Wessels 69 72 72
217 - Pieter Moolman 77 72 68, Phillip Kruse AMA 70 73 74
220 - Jade Buitendag 76 71 73
221 - Joubert Van Eeden 75 71 75, Marcus Smal AMA 75 70 76
223 - Jacques Cloete AMA 76 74 73, Luke Brown AMA 73 75 75, Marthin Scheepers 73 74 76, Mpho Mafishe 74 71 78
224 - Bryce Myburgh 72 77 75
225 - Stals Swart AMA 79 72 74, Tertius Van Den Berg 70 79 76, Duane Keun 72 74 79
226 - Arno Pretorius AMA 73 73 80
227 - Conway Kunneke 78 71 78, Christiaan Pretorius 76 76 75
228 - Brandon Pieters 70 83 75, Aidan Boon AMA 74 80 74
229 - Chase Paton AMA 76 76 77, Albert Visser 75 78 76
230 - Shaun van Tonder 80 75 75
231 - Patrick Thompson 73 75 83, Christian Basson AMA 78 76 77, Ricardo Towell 81 76 74
232 - JP Schmidt AMA 75 78 79, Liam Clinton AMA 78 77 77
233 - Dylan Morton AMA 76 76 81, Michael Kok AMA 80 73 80
234 - JP Rousseau AMA 80 75 79
236 - Owen Grobler 78 77 81, Tudor Bismark (ZIM) 79 77 80, Matthew Hands AMA 78 78 80, Bradley Diggeden AMA 84 76 76
WDN - Pierre Le Roux AMA 81 78 WDN, Jason Gilliver AMA 79 80 WDN
N/R - Aneel Kallan AMA 76 75 N/R