6 November 2017

South Africa: 'Relieved' Prinsloo Wins Maiden Sunshine Tour Title

Even though he'd built up a good lead going into the final round, Jaco Prinsloo wasn't able to relax and enjoy himself on his way to his maiden Sunshine Tour victory which he claimed by a single stroke in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at Simola Golf and Country Estate at the weekend.

He made three birdies and three bogeys in his final round of level-par, in stark contrast to his opening pair of eight-under 64s, but his 16-under-par overnight total was enough to give him the edge over perennial runner-up Ockie Strydom.

'Relieved, I guess is the word,' laughed Prinsloo afterwards. 'It was a tough day out there. I was very nervous. I hit decent shots but I was always so scared to make a mistake, and I knew the guys were going to be gunning for me.'

Besides Strydom, who left his charge a little late with four birdies in the final seven holes - including three in a row down the final stretch - he had to keep a wary eye on Doug McGuigan, who had already won two Vodacom Origins of Golf tournaments this season.

McGuigan carded a three-under-par 69 to finish two off the pace. But for three bogeys largely brought about by swirling winds which picked up during the latter part of the final round, McGuigan could have made it three titles for the season.

Prinsloo was only too aware of the threat posed by Strydom and McGuigan, and tried to keep his attention on his own play. 'I didn't look at the leaderboards until the 15th,' he said.

'With three holes left, I wanted to know if I should push or just play solidly for the last couple of holes. At that point, Doug was just one behind me, so I knew there was no room for mistakes. But luckily I finished with three pars.

'And I'm good mates with Ockie. He's come second so many times this season. But I wished I could feel like he does going into a final round in the leading group, because he's been there so often this year.'

It looked as if Prinsloo was going to run away with things as he started fast. 'I got off to a good start with a birdie, a par and another birdie,' he said. 'Then I felt good but then a couple of dropped shots crept in, so it kind of levelled the playing field again. But it was good to start with a birdie and be calm for a while at least.'

He became the sixth first-time winner on the Sunshine Tour this season, and, in doing so, he played his way into the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at the end of the month.

It's the first of the big summer tournaments on the Sunshine Tour schedule, and he's thrilled to be going there. 'It hasn't sunk in yet that I get to play Mauritius, but it's going to be lovely to go there and play in a tri-sanctioned event just before the Joburg Open, which is also tri-sanctioned now,' he said.

There was some consolation for Strydom, as he too will be flying to the Indian Ocean island to play, but the sting of finishing second for the sixth time this season cannot be easy to bear.

For Prinsloo, the relief of winning after nearly losing such a big lead was just as palpable.

Final Round Scores:

200 - Jaco Prinsloo 64 64 72

201 - Ockie Strydom 67 66 68

202 - Doug McGuigan 69 64 69

203 - Kyle Barker 69 68 66, Keenan Davidse 69 66 68, Zander Lombard 65 69 69

204 - MJ Viljoen 70 66 68

205 - Jacques Blaauw 66 70 69

206 - Breyten Meyer 69 69 68, Rourke van der Spuy 71 67 68, Riekus Nortje 72 66 68, Thriston Lawrence 71 65 70, Jean-Paul Strydom 67 68 71, Jason Froneman 69 65 72

207 - Jean Hugo 67 70 70, Tyrone Ferreira 69 67 71, Dwayne Basson 74 62 71

208 - Neil Schietekat 68 71 69, Jacquin Hess 72 67 69, Jason Smith 68 70 70, Rhys West 71 66 71, Scott Campbell 69 68 71, Heinrich Bruiners 71 65 72, Stephen Ferreira 65 70 73

209 - Wynand Dingle 69 70 70, Ulrich van den Berg 72 67 70, Benjamin Follett-Smith 69 69 71, Omar Sandys 70 67 72, Charl Coetzee 70 66 73

210 - Colin Nel 67 70 73, Louis de Jager 71 66 73, Marc Cayeux 66 71 73, Justin Harding 71 66 73

211 - Ryan Cairns 69 70 72, Peter Karmis 70 69 72, Titch Moore 71 67 73, Daniel Greene 67 71 73, Neil O'Briain 72 65 74

212 - Matias Calderon 67 68 77, Teaghan Gauche 69 64 79

213 - Steven Ferreira 70 68 75

215 - Michael Palmer 70 66 79

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