Sunshine Tour

Bekker wins Telkom PGA title

2013-01-25 17:46
Chris Wood (Gallo Images)
Centurion – Oliver Bekker became the first Sunshine Tour champion of 2013 at Centurion Country Club on Friday, shooting a third-round 66 to win the Telkom PGA Pro-Am by two strokes.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better than this. It’s the first time I’m starting out a year with a win, so it’s an awesome feeling and I’m very happy at the moment,” he said.

The big man from Stellenbosch reached an impressive 20-under-par total after three rounds and wrapped up a two-stroke victory over Ryan Straussand PH McIntyre.

“I played a solid round of golf today,” said Bekker. “It was probably my best ball-striking of the week, and under the pressure I’d say I did very well for myself.”

The 28-year-old rose to new heights last year with his 10th place finish on the 2012 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and had to set new goals for the 2013 season. Starting with a victory was certainly in line with his aims.

Sunshine Tour players are racing to make enough points to earn one of 30 spots in a limited-field, R6-million rand tournament – the Investec Cup. 13 Events on the Sunshine Tour schedule, beginning with the BMG Classic and ending with the Telkom PGA Championship, offer up such points. Bekker’s victory counted for 130 Investec Cup points and took him to 10th in the race.

Ryan Strauss graduated from Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School a fortnight ago, yet displayed nerves of steel on Friday as he sped around Centurion Country Club in 64 strokes.

“To start the season so well is the biggest relief ever. My ball-striking has been amazing – I think I missed three greens out of 54 holes this week. The game just felt solid, and it all just came to the party,” he said.

The 26-year-old gains entry to the Joburg Open with his share of second, and after competing with the top Sunshine Tour players was ready to challenge Europe’s best.

“We had guys like James Kingston and Ross McGowan out here, and I feel over the moon after competing with them. I was very nervous today, knowing that I had to put in a really good round, but I managed to do it. It’s sinking in, but it will take a little while. Let’s hope I can carry this form through to the Joburg Open,” he said.

PH McIntyre had a chance to take sole second, but his birdie putt at the 18th lipped out. The Heidelberg local joined Strauss on 18-under-par and the pair each took home a cool R58,500.

196 - Oliver Bekker 66 64 66
198 - Ryan Strauss 68 66 64, PH McIntyre 66 64 68
202 - MJ Daffue 70 67 65, Shaun Norris 68 67 67, Matthew Carvell 64 69 69
203 - Ryan Tipping 67 72 64
204 - Tyrone Ferreira 69 67 68, Desvonde Botes 70 62 72, Steven Ferreira 65 67 72
205 - Ulrich van den Berg 72 67 66, Toto Thimba (Jnr) 69 69 67, Jean Hugo 69 68 68, Teboho Sefatsa 71 66 68, Martin du Toit 71 66 68,Ross McGowan (ENG) 64 70 71
206 - Johan Bekker 66 73 67, Louis de Jager 68 70 68, James Kingston 68 68 70
207 - Theunis Spangenberg 71 69 67, Jared Harvey 68 69 70, Tjaart van der Walt 69 67 71
208 - Ryan Cairns (ZIM) 71 68 69, Dawie Van der Walt 66 72 70, JJ Senekal 67 71 70
209 - Wynand Dingle 68 73 68, Colin Nel 69 72 68, Albert Pistorius 74 66 69, Anthony Michael 70 70 69, Wallie Coetsee 67 67 75
210 - Charl Coetzee 74 67 69, Michael du Toit 69 72 69, Tyrone Mordt 71 69 70, Mark Murless 70 68 72, Lyle Rowe 71 66 73
211 - David Hewan 67 74 70, Warren Abery 71 66 74
212 - Joshua Cunliffe 73 68 71, Tyrone Ryan 73 67 72, Grant Muller 70 69 73, Ockie Strydom 67 72 73
213 - Morne Buys 69 71 73
214 - Ruan de Smidt 73 65 76, Riekus Nortje 67 69 78
216 - Alex Haindl 71 70 75

Read more on:    sunshine tour  |  golf

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Big month in the world of golf as the FedEx Cup concludes on the PGA Tour, the Race to Dubai gathers steam on the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour offers local golfers the chance to bank some cash. Oh, and not forgetting the USA v Europe Ryder Cup showdown at Hazeltine!

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