Sunshine Tour

Conradie cruises to maiden Sunshine Tour title

2019-08-02 22:00
Ruan Conradie
Ruan Conradie (Gallo Images)

Mbabane - He didn't drop a shot until the final hole on Friday, when it didn't matter any more, and Ruan Conradie still cruised to his maiden Sunshine Tour victory in the Royal Swazi Sun Challenge at the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club.

Even with the dropped shot, he still carded a six-under-par 66 to finish 18-under for the tournament and one stroke clear of Paul Boshoff, Anthony Michael and Jaco van Zyl - all of whom put a lot of pressure on Conradie with rounds of 63, 64 and 65 respectively.

"It's awesome," laughed Conradie afterwards. "This is what dreams are made of. When I get up in the morning and I think about it - it's definitely been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I'm just happy to be chasing the dream."

With the chasing pack all going so low, it was a busy day for Conradie.

"It was a rollercoaster," he said. "I started off feeling some nerves, got through that and then started making some putts. From there, it was smooth sailing up until the last couple of holes when I realised I was ahead and I needed to know what I was doing. I just felt that playing defensive golf was a lot harder than attacking."

In truth, Conradie had grabbed this tournament by the scruff of its neck from the very first round, during which he carded a superlative 11-under-par 61. That meant he was able to ride out the inevitable come-down after that with a scrappy second-round 71, and then close things out with his closing 66.

He’d already shown his affinity with the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club layout, with a share of 16th in the Investec Royal Swazi Open and a solo fourth in the Lombard Insurance Classic in May. In seven rounds there until this week, his worst score was his closing 73 in the Investec Royal Swazi Open, and all the rest were in the 60s.

It was because he had done so well in the two earlier tournaments that he was able to post that decisive opening score.

"I was attacking all week," he said. "And coming down those last two holes with a two-shot lead, I had to be aware of what I was doing. I was watching the leaderboards all the time, and I asked the scorer who was walking with us to tell me if anything happened up ahead."

Perhaps the decisive passage of play for Conradie came when he made four birdies in a row from the fourth to the seventh, and then another on the ninth.

"That birdie on nine was like a final push that got me to where I wanted to go," he said. "I had a feeling when I hit that putt that it was going to go in and I just walked it in all the way."

He hit a wayward tee shot on 18, and had a tough job to scramble for his bogey on the difficult par-three, but he knew that bogey would be enough.

"It was a like a bunch of bricks was listed from my shoulders," he said. "It was the greatest feeling in the world. After all the celebrations, I guess I'm going to have to search for some new dreams now."

Scores:

198 - Ruan Conradie 61 71 66

199 - Paul Boshoff 66 70 63, Anthony Michael 67 68 64, Jaco Van Zyl 71 63 65

200 - JC Ritchie 66 68 66, Michael Palmer 68 64 68, Madalitso Muthiya 64 68 68

201 - Deon Germishuys 64 67 70

202 - Combrinck Smit 69 67 66, Hayden Griffiths 69 67 66, Haydn Porteous 67 68 67, Christiaan Basson 68 65 69

203 - Luke Jerling 73 65 65, Thriston Lawrence 68 67 68

204 - Neil Schietekat 66 71 67, Wynand Dingle 69 66 69, Jacques Blaauw 68 66 70

205 - Jean Hugo 71 67 67, Ruan de Smidt 68 68 69, CJ du Plessis 71 65 69, Louis de Jager 70 65 70, Jacques P de Villiers 67 67 71, Allister de Kock 68 66 71, Rhys West 66 67 72

206 - Kyle Barker 67 71 68, MJ Viljoen 73 64 69, Jake Roos 69 67 70, Titch Moore 69 67 70

207 - David McIntyre 68 70 69, Andre Nel 71 67 69, Darin de Smidt 65 70 72, Benjamin Follett-Smith 68 66 73

208 - Alex Haindl 67 71 70, Dean Burmester 70 68 70

209 - Doug McGuigan 70 66 73, Dylan Mostert 68 68 73

210 - Mark Williams 75 61 74

211 - Derick Petersen 67 71 73, Heinrich Bruiners 69 68 74, Teaghan Gauche 69 67 75

212 - Jared Harvey 67 70 75

Read more on:    sunshine tour  |  ruan conradie  |  golf

 

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