shadow

Werner van Niekerk finally shook off the bridesmaid tag when he broke his duck with a magnificent wire-to-wire victory in the IGT Tour’s fifth Race to Asian Q-School at Modderfontein Golf Club on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Pretoria golfer sealed a runaway seven stroke victory on 12-under-par 204 over Bryandrew Roelofsz with a closing 71.

Having come perilously close on three occasions recently, his delight was understandable.

“This is so frigging awesome,” the fifth Race to Asian Q-School champion gushed. “I don’t know how to explain the relief I felt when that final putt dropped.

“I’ve been close so many times, but I knew I had to put a lid on the frustration, I had to stay patient and keep grinding and the pay-off would come.

“This makes all the hard work worth it and now that I’ve tasted victory, I just want to keep on going.”

The TuksSport Golf Academy player hopes to put the confidence he gained from his breakthrough on the country’s premier development Tour to good use at the Big Easy Tour Championship in two weeks.

“I finally eliminated the things that tripped me up in the past and I got so much mental confidence out of this week,” he said. “If I can pull off three rounds like this in two weeks, I might just nail my Sunshine Tour card.”
Having booked his spot for Asia, Van Niekerk feels that his future is looking rosy at last.

“The IGT Tour is taking all eight winners in the series to compete in the Asian Tour’s Qualifying School next January and Cois (du Plooy) will cover all our expenses,” he said.

“It’s been a right battle to get here, but I’m absolutely thrilled to go to Asia because it’s an opportunity of a lifetime. Guys like Jbe’ Kruger, James Kingston, Keith Horne and George Coetzee all went the Asian Tour route to get to Europe.

“I definitely want to test myself on the international stage and, even if I fall flat on my face, I can still gain so much experience.”

Van Niekerk began his victory march with an opening 66 and fired a 67 in the second round to extend his overnight lead to seven strokes.

With such a huge cushion, the Wingate Park player executed the game plan to near perfection.

“I knew the field had to catch me, so I just played for par on each hole, and if a birdie opportunity came along, I took it,” the champion explained.

Van Niekerk turned in two under after back-to-back birdies at seven and eight and, after bogeys either side of a birdie at the 11th, he regrouped and reeled in six straight pars to win.

“I actually played boring golf out there,” he laughed.

“I hit every fairway except the one at the 10th and made bogey. I hit a great eight-iron at the 11th to five meters and made the putt to get back on track.

“At the 12th, I got over-cautious, left my approach short and three-putt for bogey. After that I just told myself to get back to basics and I played percentage golf all the way to the finish.”

Meanwhile Roelofsz birdied the last three holes for a 71 to finish alone in second in five under.

Limpopo amateur Hennie du Plessis carded another 73 to finish in third on three under, two strokes clear of Portugal’s Antonio Rosado, a three-time IGT Tour winner this season, who returned a 74.

FINAL RESULT

204 - Werner Van Niekerk 66 67 71

211 - Bryandrew Roelofsz 70 70 71

213 - Hennie Du Plessis (AMA) 67 73 73

215 - Antonio Rosado POR 67 74 74

216 - Bryn Flanagan (AMA) 73 70 73, Conway Kunneke 72 69 75

218 - Russel Franz 72 73 73, Leon Scheepers (AMA) 73 71 74

219 - John McClean NIR 73 73 73

220 - Tyron McComb 73 74 73

222 - Coert Groenewald 74 74 74, David Meyers (AMA) 74 71 77

223 - Hano van der Walt 74 77 72, Stephan De Beer (AMA) 75 74 74

224 - Jaco Mouton 73 74 77

225 - Matthew Kiewitz (AMA) 76 70 79, Wayne du Toit 75 70 80

226 - TJ Bekker 76 74 76, Rosswell Sinclair (AMA) 76 70 80, Ryan Gosling 78 78 70

227 - Hilton Hughes (AMA) 75 75 77, Michael Van Hoeck (AMA) 75 76 76, Calvin Caldeira (AMA) 75 76 76, Ted Hendriks 74 72 81

228 - Jacquin Hess 76 75 77, Louwtjie J van Vuuren (AMA) 70 81 77

229 - Niel Meyer (AMA) 75 75 79, Murray Smit 75 75 79, DK Kim KOR 72 82 75

230 - Byron Garvie 74 76 80, Ruan Huysamen NAM 70 81 79, Shaun van Tonder 84 71 75

233 - Michael Dreyer 78 76 79

236 - Keegan Steyn (AMA) 77 78 81, David Lamprecht 83 75 78, Glen de Waal NAM 78 81 77

238 - Christiaan Pretorius 80 77 81, Clinton Cheia (AMA) 78 80 80

241 - Nico Du Buisson (AMA) 74 79 88, James Garlinge (AMA) 75 79 87, Michael Petersen (AMA) 80 79 82

245 - Gustav Gouws (AMA) 79 77 89, Werner van der Walt 78 80 87

N/R - Jandre Fullard (AMA) 71 78 N/R

RTD - Lean Boezaart 73 79 RTD

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.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>