30 June 2019

Kenya: Thimba Claims the Karen Masters Blue Jacket in Nairobi

Cape Town — Toto Thimba told the media in Nairobi on Friday that he was going to win the Karen Masters by 10 shots, and on Sunday, he shot a final-round 65 to total 26-under-par 262 to claim his maiden Sunshine Tour victory, albeit by three shots at Karen Country Club.

He went into the final round trailing Stephen Ferreira by a single stroke at 19-under-par, and after opening with a par on the first, he made an eagle on the second to pull away from Ferreira who had dropped on the first hole. Thimba then backed that up with a birdie but made back-to-back bogeys on the par-three fifth hole and the sixth. He bounced back from those with another birdie on seven for a 34 on the front nine.

A birdie on the 10 th was followed by an eagle on the 12 th but, again, he dropped, and this time on the par-three 13 th . A run of three birdies on the trot from the 15 th through to the 17 th before closing with a welcomed par on the last to become the first member of the Gary Player Class to win a tournament since the programme was instituted in 2016.

"To be honest, I'm really impressed with the way I played this week," he said. "I've been working on my state of mind, you know. Everyone said 'you're playing well and why can't you win?'. So, I had to sit down and check myself and see why can't I win. So, I started reading books of authors like Les Brown, Eric Thomas and that was a turning point in my life because that made me strong mentally and I had a great attitude this week."

Known on Tour to be among the humblest of players, Thimba was very confident, if not bullish, in Nairobi this week, opting for an aggressive approach to the tournament in his search for that first win.

"I knew I was going to win," he said on Sunday. "This win is for my mentor, Zekiel Moore, who lost a wife and a son, and I said I was going to win it for him." In a way that only Thimba can be, he refuses to claim the victory as his own, instead dedicating it to fellow Gary Player Class members.

"This one is for the Gary Player Class," he said. "They are my brothers and we work hard together. I am still going to win for them. I want to win them all but this one is for all the African golfers and I hope it can open some doors for all of us."

The Gary Player Class, the Sunshine Tour's development programme which benefits from the longstanding support of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), founded in 1999 by Johann Rupert as the official body for golf development in South Africa, as well as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) in a collective effort to use golf to improve the lives of disadvantaged South Africans.

Thimba becomes the third first-time winner this season following the victories of Garrick Higgo at Sun City, Jake Redman at the Lombard Insurance Classic and Martin Rohwer who claimed the Investec Royal Swazi Open.

Scores:

262 - Toto Thimba 68 63 66 65 265 - Stephen Ferreira 62 66 68 69 271 - Keith Horne 70 69 67 65 272 - JC Ritchie 69 64 69 70 274 - Garrick Higgo 67 67 69 71 275 - MJ Viljoen 69 69 67 70 277 - Thriston Lawrence 73 69 68 67, Greg Snow 67 74 66 70 278 - Merrick Bremner 70 68 71 69, Estiaan Conradie 69 72 67 70, Steve Surry 71 70 66 71 279 - Daniel van Tonder 73 71 68 67, Jaco Prinsloo 70 72 69 68, Keenan Davidse 71 71 68 69 280 - Rhys West 71 71 73 65, Keelan van Wyk 70 72 71 67, Jack Harrison 73 70 69 68, Ockie Strydom 71 70 69 70, Deon Germishuys 71 67 71 71, Kyle McClatchie 74 67 68 71, Michael Palmer 69 67 72 72 281 - Chris Swanepoel 70 69 73 69, Heinrich Bruiners 68 73 71 69, Jean Hugo 72 71 69 69, Andrew Odoh 69 70 71 71, CJ du Plessis 69 67 70 75 282 - Ruan de Smidt 71 70 75 66, Jaco Ahlers 68 70 76 68, James Allan 71 73 69 69, Trevor Fisher Jnr 69 73 70 70, Philip Eriksson 72 68 70 72, David Wakhu 69 70 70 73, Callum Mowat 70 70 68 74 283 - Madalitso Muthiya 72 70 71 70, Peetie van der Merwe 69 71 69 74, Jacques P de Villiers 68 69 71 75 284 - Neil Schietekat 67 73 77 67, Dismas Indiza 70 73 68 73, Kyle Barker 71 70 69 74 285 - Bennie van der Merwe 72 68 75 70, Fredrik From 73 71 70 71, Jake Redman 71 69 73 72, Chris Cannon 69 67 75 74, Pieter Moolman 73 70 68 74, Lyle Rowe 72 71 68 74 286 - CJ Wangai 70 74 71 71, JJ Senekal 70 71 73 72 287 - Anton Haig 72 69 75 71, Simon Ngige 72 70 72 73, Joe Nawanga 73 70 70 74 288 - Martin Rohwer 68 74 73 73, Rizwan Charania 73 71 69 75 289 - Clinton Grobler 71 72 76 70, Simon Njogu 74 70 73 72, Ruan Korb 74 70 71 74 290 - Thabiso Ngcobo 67 75 76 72, Wallie Coetsee 71 72 74 73, Ryan Tipping 71 72 73 74 292 - Teaghan Gauche 75 68 74 75, Dayne Moore 73 69 74 76, Aubrey Beckley 71 72 73 76 293 - Jeff Kubwa 70 71 76 76, Tyrone Ryan 69 75 73 76 300 - Jastas Madoya 70 74 80 76 304 - Darin de Smidt 73 69 78 84

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