Johannesburg – Glendower pro Rudy Whitfield celebrated his first professional win at the Sunshine Big Easy Tour's at his home course on Friday, and his daughters were the first to congratulate him.
“My wife came in for me today, and when she heard I was in the lead she quickly went to get our girls from school,” said Whitfield, who signed for a three under total after rounds of 68 and 73 on the challenging layout, to win by two from Johan Bekker.
“Whenever you watch the PGA Tour, the kids always run onto the green – she's always wanted to do something like that and I enjoyed having them right there with me.
“It's always nice to get an invitation and to play in a professional tournament,” said Whitfield.
“Any time I play a competitive round I enjoy it, and to take the win is special, even more so at my home course.
“When you can pull it off against the guys who are playing and practising every day, it's a great feeling. It was really fun to be out there.”
Whitfield played on the Sunshine Tour for 11 years, which gave him an edge as he came down the stretch.
Despite the nerves playing their usual tricks, he kept calm and never allowed Bekker to get closer than within two strokes of his lead. Part of staying calm was that he followed every drop with a birdie.
“The last three holes I felt quite nervous, and towards the end I was limping home a little. If you make a bogey and follow it with a couple of pars, then you start to worry about making the shot back. If you bounce back straight away it does a lot for your confidence.”.
With his first win under the belt, Whitfield was excited about playing a few more events in future.
“I won the National PGA Championship this year, so it's turning out to be quite a good year so far. I'd like to play a little bit more, and would definitely like to play a couple of local tournaments. Hopefully this win takes me there.” – Sapa