Sunshine Tour

Harding birdie blast lands Simola win

2016-10-01 14:51
Justin Harding (Gallo Images)

Knysna – A three-birdie burst in the middle of the final nine holes of the R700,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Simola Golf and Country Estate on Saturday saw Justin Harding pull away for his fifth victory as a professional.

He picked up strokes on the 13th, 14th and 15th on his way to a final-round two-under-par 70, enough for a one-stroke edge over Ockie Strydom who had fired a brilliant 11-under-par 61 to set the clubhouse target at 13-under-par 203, nearly an hour ahead of Harding.

“Ockie posted an unbelievable score, something that I didn’t think was out there. His round today was a kick in the butt, and that helped me stay focused,” said Harding.

“I didn’t start that well,” he said of his opening nine of two-over-par 38, which included four bogeys. “But I managed to get a couple of good putts to go in. The first one came on 13, but 14 was pretty much the crucial one. It was about a 20-footer, downhill left to right and it managed to just creep into the hole.

“It was not so much the birdie putts that helped me today. The good little tester from six feet I made on 16 after I hit a good tee shot into the fairway bunker and then played two very shaky little shots - I managed to make that,” he added.

He also made par on the par-five 18th after he found the greenside bunker with his second shot, and left himself a slippery little downhill eight-footer for birdie. It stopped right next to the hole and that putt, if others hadn’t already let him know, was confirmation that he’d putted well enough to win.

He also had a touch of luck as he overcooked his tee shot on the short 17th, his ball bouncing off a sprinkler head back onto the green some 30 feet from the flag.

Strydom’s round was fully six-strokes better than the next best of the final round, Ryan Cairns’ five-under 67. It was characterised by an unrelenting string of birdies around the turn - he made four before it and three after it. His only regret would be that he missed out on birdie on only one of the five par-fives on the course.

For Harding, winning bought a sense of relief.

“I’ve had a bit of a lean spell,” he said. “It hasn’t been the greatest of years, and I guess all I really needed was to get the feeling of making a few putts. Once that happens, I know I’ve got a low score in me.”

That came in his second-round 64, which set him up for victory.

Scores

202 - Justin Harding 68 64 70

203 - Ockie Strydom 74 68 61

205 - Neil Schietekat 68 67 70

206 - Toby Tree 65 69 72

207 - Ryan Cairns 69 71 67, Jake Roos 75 63 69

208 - Titch Moore 70 69 69

209 - Theunis Spangenberg 70 71 68, Ruan de Smidt 74 67 68, Heinrich Bruiners 69 71 69

210 - Steven Ferreira 72 69 69, Danie van Tonder 72 69 69, Oliver Bekker 69 71 70, Zander Lombard 71 68 71, Francois Coetzee 70 68 72, Charl Coetzee 64 70 76

211 - Christiaan Basson 71 70 70, Werner van Niekerk 72 68 71, Pieter Kruger 76 67 68

212 - Anthony Michael 71 70 71, PH McIntyre 72 69 71, Keenan Davidse 72 70 70, Mark Murless 69 70 73, James Kingston 71 68 73, JJ Senekal 74 70 68

213 - Callum Mowat 70 72 71, Andrew Georgiou 70 72 71, Alex Haindl 73 70 70, Vaughn Groenewald 66 73 74, JC Ritchie 73 65 75

214 - Madalitso Muthiya 71 69 74

215 - Jaco Prinsloo 70 74 71, Doug McGuigan 72 72 71, Michael Hollick 72 72 71, Rourke van der Spuy 77 67 71

216 - Tyrone Ferreira 71 70 75, Peter Karmis 70 72 74

217 - Toto Thimba 74 68 75, Derick Petersen 71 72 74

218 - Stephen Ferreira 72 72 74

219 - Bryandrew Roelofsz 70 71 78, Russel Franz 74 68 77, Makhetha Mazibuko 72 71 76, Ryan Tipping 73 70 76, Colin Nel 71 73 75

220 - Allister de Kock 68 76 76

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