JOHANNESBURG (20 November 2014) – Development was the biggest winner at Glendower Golf Club as IGT Tour graduates Jacques Kruyswijk and Werner van Niekerk held off a pack of seasoned Sunshine Tour professionals to come out tops in the Battle of the Giants on Thursday.

The two Centurions pros both closed with rounds of 68, but Kruyswijk edged out Van Niekerk for a one stroke victory on 10-under-par 206 after the rookie caught a bad lie and bogeyed the 18th.

Four-time Sunshine Tour winner James Kamte rallied with a 72 to finish third on 210.

Divan Van Den Heever (71) and Jaco Ahlers (73), who shared a birthday on Wednesday, tied for fourth on 211, while fellow Sunshine Tour regulars Okkie Strydom (72) and Zimbabwean Ryan Cairns (73) finished joint sixth on 212.

IGT Tour Race to Asian Q-School winner Bryn Flanagan shot 70 to a tie for eighth on 213 with Ross Wellington, who returned a 71.

Kruyswijk and Van Niekerk are both products of the country’s premier development Tour.

The newly minted champion own five times before he graduated to the Sunshine Tour in 2013, while Van Niekerk will be gunning for his card at the Qualifying School in January.

Kruyswijk birdied the second and fourth holes, dropped a shot at the fifth, but chipped in at the par-four seventh to get back on track. He eagled the par-five eighth and turned in 10 under to carry a three shot lead into the back nine.

“Werner was playing ahead of me and he caught fire on the back nine,” Kruyswijk said. “He had four birdies on the trot from the 13th to go 10 under. I made a silly bogey at the 11th, but I managed to catch him when I nailed a great putt at the 16th.

“I was gearing up for a play-off, but I saw him make bogey when I was in the fairway at the 18th. It took the pressure off when I knew I just needed to par the hole to win.”

Kruyswijk played a full season on the IGT Tour before securing his Sunshine Tour card for 2013.

However, the Centurion rookie broke his hand that October and missed out on all the big money events. He kept his card for 2014, but the 22-year-old was ready to quit after not making a dime in the first six months of the season.

“I decided to give it one last push, made some major adjustments in my life two months ago and came back to make two cuts in a row,” Kruyswijk said. “I tied for 12th in the BMG Classic and 33rd at Lost City. It might not look like much on paper, but it was huge for me.

“The IGT Tour is like family. It’s where I cut my teeth and it’s always great to come back. I knew the Battle of the Giants help me keep that competitive edge going for the Cape Town Open.

“It was great to have a rookie chasing me, because that’s why the IGT Tour is a win-win for all.”

Van Niekerk graduated from the University of Pretoria last year and has been a regular campaigner on the IGT Tour. The TuksSport Golf Academy player came perilously close three times before he shook off the bridesmaid tag with a magnificent wire-to-wire victory in the IGT Tour’s fifth Race to Asian Q-School at Modderfontein in September.

“To be honest, this runner-up finish actually means more to me than the win at Modderfontein,” the 23-year-old BSc Construction Management graduate said.

“You only improve with development and playing against some of the top pros this week has definitely helped my game. I played with Jaco (Ahlers) in the first round and he said I don’t trust my shots. I made a point of trusting my game in the second round and shot a 67.

“Suddenly I was in contention. So I caught a bad lie at the 18th; it happens sometimes. But beating a bunch of experienced pros doesn’t happen every day. ”

FINAL RESULT

206 – Jacques Kruyswijk 70 68 68
207 – Werner Van Niekerk 72 67 68
210 – James Kamte 71 67 72
211 – Divan Van Den Heever 71 69 71, Jaco Ahlers 68 70 73
212 – Ockert Strydom 71 69 72, Ryan Cairns 66 73 73
213 – Bryn Flanagan 68 75 70, Ross Wellington 67 75 71
214 – Tyrone Ryan 71 72 71, Wynand Dingle 70 71 73, Tyron Mc Comb 70 70 74, Neil Cheetham ENG 70 69 75
215 – Duane Keun 73 72 70
216 – Ryan Tipping 70 76 70, Callum Mowat 72 73 71, Eddie Taylor 72 70 74
217 – Hilton Hughes (AMA) 75 72 70, Alex Haindl 71 75 71
218 – Jaco Prinsloo 74 73 71, Danie Pretorius 79 67 72, Coert Groenewald 70 74 74, Stuart Smith BOT 71 72 75
219 – Ryan Clarke 76 71 72, Calvin Caldeira 68 78 73
220 – Otto van Greunen 73 75 72, Gideon Pienaar 75 71 74, Glen de Waal NAM 73 70 77, Antonio Rosado POR 69 73 78
222 – Jonathan Waschefort 73 75 74, Jaco Mouton 75 73 74, Khaya Jika 73 74 75, Romano Saincic 69 77 76
223 – Hennie Du Plessis (AMA) 69 74 80
224 – Herman Minnie 72 76 76, Roberto Lupini 73 75 76, CJ du Plessis 73 74 77
225 – Simon Kruger (AMA) 71 76 78
227 – Juan Langeveld 72 76 79, Lean Boezaart 75 72 80
229 – Francesca Cuturi 76 72 81
230 – Wayne du Toit 79 68 83

Source: Asian Tour

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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