Sunshine Tour

Ahlers races away to take Dimension Data title

2018-02-18 18:10
Jaco Ahlers (Gallo Images)

George – Jaco Ahlers put pedal to the metal after the turn on Sunday to accelerate away to a comfortable three-stroke victory in the Dimension Data Pro-Am which was played at Fancourt.

The George local made an eagle and three birdies in succession after the ninth on his was to a flawless eight-under-par 64 for a 20-under-par total to defeat second-placed Jean-Paul Strydom who cared a fine six-under 66 of his own. Ireland’s Neil O’Briain also shot 66 to finish third a further stroke back.

“Those five shots I picked up as I started the back nine were unbelievable,” said Ahlers. “I started with a great second shot with a rescue on 10 which I hit to three feet for the eagle. It was flushed perfectly, and I couldn’t have asked for a better shot.

“Then I made the putts on 11, 12 and 13 and from there it was almost cruise-mode. I could get away with hitting fairways, the middle of the green and two-putting all the way home. That made the difference.”

He started the day two shots off the overnight lead, and made his move early with three birdies in his opening five holes to pull clear of two other George locals, Tjaart van der Walt and Vaughn Groenewald who were unable to build on their third-round successes.

And once Ahlers had pulled clear with his stunning four holes after the turn, he was able to relax and savour the coming victory. “I’m naturally fairly conservative,” he said. “I was very comfortable playing percentage golf coming in, and that suited me perfectly.”

Strydom’s finish gave him his best-ever Sunshine Tour result, and the biggest cheque of his career, and he will take comfort from the fact that not many people would have been able to stop Ahlers once he picked up those five strokes. He worked hard to stay in touch with Ahlers after turning in 33, and picked up three more birdies to cement his spot.

O’Briain was flawless, and, after picking up four birdies in his first five holes, would have hoped for an even lower score. But he made eight consecutive pars before his next birdie, and then made just one more as he solidified his third place.

Behind him, five players shared fourth on 14-under: Dean Burmester, Francesco Laporta of Italy, Keith Horne, Germany’s Alexander Knappe, and Van der Walt.

For Ahlers, this was a big win. “I said before the tournament that if I was to only win one more tournament in my life, I’d like it to be this,” he said.

And it was big for more than just that reason. The winner of the Dimension Data Pro-Am always gets into the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. The opportunity to play in that will certainly set his heart racing. “This is pretty big. I’m really chuffed,” he said.”

Scores:

269 - Jaco Ahlers 71 68 66 64

272 - Jean-Paul Strydom 69 67 70 66

274 - Neil O'Briain 68 68 72 66

275 - Dean Burmester 74 70 66 65, Francesco Laporta 70 71 66 68, Keith Horne 68 69 70 68, Alexander Knappe 72 68 69 66, Tjaart van der Walt 67 69 67 72

276 - Andre Nel 68 69 73 66, Justin Walters 68 69 69 70, Breyten Meyer 69 67 67 73, Vaughn Groenewald 66 73 64 73

277 - JC Ritchie 66 76 68 67, Adilson Da Silva 70 71 68 68, Kyle McClatchie 68 72 67 70, Jacques Blaauw 71 66 69 71, George Coetzee 78 67 66 66

278 - Erik van Rooyen 71 76 66 65, Justin Harding 71 71 68 68, Jack Doherty 70 71 68 69, Tristen Strydom 68 69 72 69, Peter Karmis 68 71 73 66, Anthony Michael 68 66 72 72

279 - Titch Moore 70 71 67 71, Toby Tree 65 72 70 72, Colin Nel 68 71 68 72

280 - MJ Viljoen 69 71 73 67, Louis de Jager 71 70 70 69, Dawie Van der Walt 69 70 71 70, Ockie Strydom 69 68 69 74, Trevor Fisher Jnr 70 71 67 72

281 - Ulrich van den Berg 70 71 72 68, Zack Byrd 72 69 71 69, Cody Martin 66 71 74 70, Hennie Otto 77 68 66 70, Daniel van Tonder 70 69 67 75, Garth Mulroy 65 74 74 68

282 - Michael Hollick 70 69 76 67, Ben Eccles 73 69 73 67, Jean Hugo 72 69 71 70, Scott Vincent 67 72 73 70, Merrick Bremner 72 73 67 70

283 - Jake Roos 72 71 69 71, Oliver Bekker 70 71 69 73, Rhys Enoch 68 73 68 74

284 - Rourke van der Spuy 73 70 72 69, Luke Jerling 69 68 77 70, Jake Redman 70 70 73 71, Alan McLean 73 69 71 71, Andre De Decker 70 74 68 72, Ruan de Smidt 72 63 75 74

285 - Jack Harrison 75 69 71 70, Bryce Easton 78 69 68 70, Jason Froneman 68 70 77 70, Jaco Prinsloo 68 72 74 71, Shaun Norris 71 73 69 72, Andrew van der Knaap 71 70 72 72, Christiaan Basson 69 74 70 72, Madalitso Muthiya 68 72 72 73

286 - Mark Williams 67 73 75 71, Luke Joy 71 73 71 71, Martin Rohwer 73 73 68 72, Jbe' Kruger 74 71 69 72, Doug McGuigan 75 69 69 73

287 - JJ Senekal 72 71 72 72, Wallie Coetsee 71 75 69 72, Tyrone Ryan 69 71 74 73

288 - Daniel Greene 73 68 74 73

291 - Jack McDonald 71 72 72 76

292 - Riekus Nortje 69 71 73 79

293 - Heinrich Bruiners 69 72 74 78

294 - Aubrey Beckley 73 68 73 80

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