Kathu - It has been nearly three years since Jacques Blaauw won a Sunshine
Tour tournament, and he put on a putting masterclass on Saturday to take
the R700 000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Sishen Golf and Country
Club on the first hole of a playoff with Theunis Spangenberg.
According to the Sunshine Tour website, Blaauw carded a six-under-par 66 to draw level with Spangenberg, who
signed for a 71, and then Blaauw made birdie at 18 in the play-off to
edge the man who was trying to win a tournament on his home course.
And it could so easily have gone pear-shaped for Blaauw, after he
made double-bogey on the opening hole of his round for the second time
during the tournament.
“After the start, I was thinking I was going to
have one of those final days again,” he said “but I kept my composure
and I stuck to what I’ve been working on recently.
“And the putter is working really nicely. I was pleased about that on
the play-off hole. I had a putt of similar length to the one I had in
regulation, and it was on exactly on the opposite side of the hole. So I
knew the line. I was very happy when we walked up to the green and I
saw the line. I hit it a bit wide in regulation play, and I hit this one
just a little straighter and it was in the middle of the hole.”
For the early part of the final round, it looked for all the world as
if Spangenberg was going to march to a simple win: He birdied the first
two holes to pull clear of the chasing pack, but then a bogey on three -
only his second of the week - brought him up short. Another at seven
and a third at 13 negated any effect his two more birdies during the
final round had.
Spangenberg also had a great duel going with Ruan de Smidt, who
looked as he was going to pull clear when he made his third birdie of
the round to get to 11-under, but consecutive bogeys on 16 and 17 saw
him slip to a share of third.
For Blaauw, it all came together with an eagle on the sixth, after he
had clawed back the two strokes he had dropped on the first with
birdies on two and five. Once he made the eagle, there was no looking
back, and he made four more birdies on his way in.
And he relished the feeling of winning again for the first time since
November 2013. “It feels unbelievable,” he said. “I came close during
the last three years - very close. “I’ve started playing a little better
lately, so getting a win now is a good feeling.”