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JOHANNESBURG, 25 June 2014 – A pair of eagles on the back nine at Modderfontein Golf Club helped Free State golfer Jacques de Villiers to claim his maidenpro win at the IGT Tour’s Race to the USA Modderfontein on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old from Bloemfontein got off to birdie-birdie start and cancelled a two-putt bogey at the fifth with another birdie at the par-five eighth. He eagled the par-five 10th and made another three at the 13th before draining five straight par-putts for a 66 to deny Michael Scholz another podium finish in the Race to the USA series.

His winning score of nine-under-par 207 left De Villiers one shot clear of the seasoned professional, who closed with an equally impressive five under 67.

Herman Minnie carded a 70 to take third on his own on four under 212, while Northern Ireland’s John McClean and Ryan Clark both carded 72s to share fourth on 213.

De Villiers knew he was in with a chance at the turn, but the eagles were a superb bonus.

“I hit a great drive down the 10th and the ball ran through the fairway,” he said. “I had about 20 meters into the win to the pin and I knocked it to 10 feet. I holed the putt and suddently, I was in the mix.

“I hit a three-wood straight down the middle at the 13th and stuck a seven-iron about 30 feet from the flag. It was awesome to drain that putt for another eagle.

“After that I just stuck to my game plan, because the closing holes are very tight and you can’t afford to get overly aggressive. It’s easy to drop one or two shots. I just stuck to the fairways and hit it to the middle of the greens.

“I missed a 10-footer for birdie at the 16th and a six-footer for birdie at the 18th, but I guess in the end, those close calls didn’t matter.”

A quick look at his results this month reveals that De Villiers has been spoiling for a breakthrough.

Following a tie for 13th in the Race to the USA Dainfern in early June, the Schoemans Park pro fired a final round 68 to tie for ninth at the Maheking Pro-Amlast week.

“I have felt that I’m knocking and that a win was looming,” delighted De Villiers said.

“I thought it might take a while longer, but I am relieved to finally have one under the belt.”

De Villiers turned pro in 2013 on the back of a successful amateur career, but he missed out on his card at Q-School. He did get playing privileges on the Big Easy Tour, though, and began supplementing his experience by campaigning on the country’s premier development Tour.

“I had a bunch of runner-up finishes in my last year as an amateur, but I couldn’t break into the winner’s circle,” he said. “It’s tough when you know you can compete, but you are not getting the results.

“Now, I don’t only believe I can compete, but I believe I can win. I going to celebrate this win properly, and then start working towards a second and third victory. This time I want to be properly prepared for the next Sunshine Tour Qualifying School.”

While De Villiers enjoyed his victory, Khaya Jika had his own reason to celebrate.

The former bagman knocked in a wedge from 139 meters at the par-three ninth to record the second ace of the tournament.

The fortuitous one on his card helped Jika to his third successive 72 and a share of 15th on even-par 216.

FINAL GOLF RESULTS:-

207 - Jacques de Villiers 72 69 66

208 - Michael Scholz 71 70 67

212 - Herman Minnie 72 70 70

213 - John McClean NIR 73 68 72, Ryan Clarke 73 68 72

214 - Lean Boezaart 74 72 68, Coert Groenewald 72 73 69, Niel Meyer (AMA) 77 67 70, Terence Boardman 72 71 71, Theodor Oosthuizen (AMA) 70 73 71, Werner Van Niekerk 71 71 72

215 - Ludovic Bax MUS (AMA) 76 71 68, Calvin Caldeira (AMA) 71 71 73, Otto van Greunen 72 70 73

216 - Khaya Jika 72 72 72, Shaun van Tonder 74 70 72

217 - Hyun Park KOR 71 77 69, Hendrikus Stoop (AMA) 75 72 70, Hano van der Walt 70 75 72, DK Kim KOR 71 72 74

218 - Tyrone Gibb (AMA) 74 73 71

219 - Jason Froneman (AMA) 75 73 71, Mike Downes ENG 72 74 73, Jerry Steyn 74 72 73, Gareth Akers (AMA) 81 69 69

221 - Antonio Rosado POR 75 71 75

222 - Mike Maile 77 75 70

223 - Garth Wolter (AMA) 76 73 74, JC van Dommelen 75 75 73, Tudor Bismark ZIM (AMA) 77 75 71

224 - Jason Diab (AMA) 78 69 77, Wayne Stroebel 78 73 73

225 - Francesca Cuturi 73 76 76, Jonathan Waschefort 77 72 76, Russel Franz 74 77 74

228 - Ted Hendriks 75 76 77, Werner Van Wyk (AMA) 78 74 76, Divan Marais (AMA) 81 71 76

229 - Justin Godfrey (AMA) 75 76 78, Rhoan Gardiner 72 79 78

230 - Murray Smit 79 69 82, David Lamprecht 78 69 83, Rob Menzies ENG 75 74 81, Arno Bartholoma (AMA) 75 75 80, Lucas Steyn 77 74 79, Tyron Mc Comb 74 77 79

231 - Rae Mackie 76 74 81, Mike Quinn 79 72 80

232 - Conway Kunneke 68 82 82

WDN - Andi Dill (AMA) 71 74 WDN

Source: Lali Stander

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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