Jean-Paul Strydom won his maiden Sunshine Tour victory at Serengeti Estates. Photo: Sunshine Tour

JOHANNESBURG – A 40-foot birdie putt on the ninth ignited a charge from Jean-Paul Strydom on Sunday as he pulled off his maiden Sunshine Tour victory in the season-ending Tour Championship at Serengeti Estates.

He had just bogeyed the eighth for his second dropped shot of the day and was falling off the pace, but three consecutive birdies around the two and another two on his way home saw him finish the round six-under and the tournament at 14-under for a one-stroke edge over the quartet of Jean Hugo, Jake Roos, Ockie Strydom and Thriston Lawrence.

“My putt on nine was about a 40-footer from across the green and that kind of got me going,” he said. “Then I hit a horrible tee-shot on 10, and had probably one of the best shots of the tournament to about five feet and made the birdie putt. I missed a five-footer for eagle on 11, but made birdie there.”

That brought the lead back within his grasp, and birdies on 13 and 17 helped him seal the deal. “It was such an easy chip. I was a bit nervous – shaking a bit – so I didn’t hit it hard enough and left myself an uphill six-footer. I just closed my eyes and it went in,” he laughed.

It looked for a long while as if the tournament might go to a play-off, but Hugo bogeyed the 18th when he putted a 45-footer from the back fringe about eight feet past the hole and missed the return putt to slip to 13-under. Roos narrowly missed a 40-footer for birdie on 18, while Ockie Strydom and Lawrence each missed slippery downhill putts on the final hole and they all finished just off the pace.

For Strydom, having to make the pace during the final round was useful. “Chasing helped,” he said. “I was leading at Cape Town Open and I didn’t feel myself – I was kind of edgy. Today I told my caddie if we could get it to six-under for the round, we’d be in with a shout. It wasn’t playing easy. The flags were quite tucked. But we shot six-under and it was good enough.”

It was vindication of a rebuilding process that he undertook last year after coming close in the Dimension Data Pro-Am. The process was on track as he was runner-up in Cape Town in February, and it all came together in the final event of the season.

“I’m speechless,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve been close a couple of times now. I’ve been playing well and I’m just glad I could pull one off. I wasn’t looking good last year. Somehow, I found something and here we are.”

Scores:

274 - Jean-Paul Strydom 69 67 72 66

275 - Jean Hugo 67 68 70 70, Jake Roos 71 67 67 70, Ockie Strydom 74 65 65 71, Thriston Lawrence 69 69 65 72

277 - Keenan Davidse 67 70 70 70

278 - Philip Eriksson 68 69 72 69

279 - Jaco Ahlers 72 68 70 69

281 - Martin Rohwer 70 75 68 68, Bryce Easton 73 71 68 69, JJ Senekal 68 70 72 71, JC Ritchie 68 71 70 72

282 - Merrick Bremner 70 69 74 69, Trevor Fisher Jnr 74 72 67 69

283 - Daniel van Tonder 77 68 70 68, Daniel Greene 71 74 69 69, Jaco Van Zyl 72 71 69 71, Lyle Rowe 71 70 70 72, Michael Palmer 72 71 68 72

284 - Hennie Otto 70 71 69 74

285 - Steve Surry 73 70 70 72, Jaco Prinsloo 72 69 71 73

286 - Doug McGuigan 75 71 70 70, Anthony Michael 74 68 72 72, Vaughn Groenewald 72 70 67 77

288 - Rourke van der Spuy 74 72 71 71

289 - Jack Harrison 71 75 73 70

290 - Jacques Blaauw 74 74 71 71

291 - Peter Karmis 74 71 75 71, Mark Williams 71 74 73 73, Neil Schietekat 72 74 72 73

292 - Tyrone Ferreira 75 75 73 69

293 - Christiaan Basson 73 76 74 70

296 - Benjamin Follett-Smith 73 76 75 72, Matias Calderon 78 75 71 72

297 - Andre De Decker 71 73 79 74

298 - Madalitso Muthiya 75 78 70 75

305 - Zander Lombard 81 78 78 68, Tyrone Ryan 74 79 76 76

African News Agency (ANA)