Easton's birdie blitz bags win
Bryce Easton (Gallo Images)
Bryce Easton claimed his second victory in three tournaments when he won the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula Country Club on Friday.
On a windy day in the bushveld, Easton closed with a composed 68 to win on 16-under-par 200, three strokes clear of Doug McGuigan.
Easton’s victory comes after his breakthrough win in the Sun City Challenge three weeks ago.
“I’m over the moon. The goal was just to get that first win, and I was ecstatic when I got that one out of the way. This week I put myself in a good position and here we are again,” Easton said.
Easton went into the final round tied for the lead with McGuigan. His more experienced opponent matched him for a birdie on the second hole. But then Easton went one clear with his birdie on the third following a sublime chip to within inches of the hole.
The difficult par-four fifth provided the first turning point. Easton made a solid par while McGuigan made a double bogey following a poor chip from the greenside rough. Then McGuigan’s bogey on the seventh gave Easton a four-stroke lead, and he was never under threat on the back nine.
His bogey on 14 was offset by another strong finish featuring two birdies in his final three holes, and including a chip-in for birdie on the 16th. It was exactly the kind of finish Easton has come to relish. For his first victory at Sun City, he eagled the 18th to make it into a playoff and then eagled the 18th again to win.
“I love being in the thick of things. As a junior I always enjoyed it because it made me concentrate. That’s why I play – to execute great shots and produce under pressure. It’s an awesome feeling when you do that under pressure.”
But equally as impressive was the composure he showed on a tricky day in the wind.
“Even before I won at Sun City I started to feel very comfortable on Tour. I’ve been playing well and I feel like I’m coming to events now looking to win and not just make the cut or make the pre-qualifier like last year. To get two wins in three weeks is great.”
McGuigan produced his own bit of magic at the end when he eagled the 18th to make second place his own with a 71.
Dean Burmester signed for a 68 to finish third on 12 under.
Easton’s week was made that much more memorable by a unique trophy handover. He was handed the trophy by one of the Zebula elephants.
“I love events out in the bush like this. The golf course is great and the whole elephant prizegiving at the end was like the cherry on top for me.”
Easton also contributed heavily to the Vodacom Origins of Golf Birdies for Kiddies campaign. The series rewards every birdie or eagle made during the event with 1000 meals for underprivileged children. This week the golfers donated an incredible 111 800 meals.