Sunshine Tour

Van Tonder claims first win in 5 years in Zambia

2019-03-31 17:53
Daniel van Tonder
Daniel van Tonder (Getty Images)

Kitwe - Daniel van Tonder hadn't won in nearly five years until he pulled off a one-stroke victory on Sunday in the Zambia Open at Nkana Golf Club.

On a course which yielded just four 72-hole totals that were under par, he closed with a two-under 70 to move to five-under for the week and a one-stroke victory over Callum Mowat. Neil Schietekat and Jacques Blaauw shared third on one-under, three shots further back.

"It feels great," said Van Tonder. "I was close a few times last year. I’ve been up and down, and inconsistent here and there, but I changed balls and since then I've become more consistent."

He started the final round as if he meant to put daylight between himself and his challengers with three birdies in the first four holes, but bogeys on eight, 10 and 11 brought him back to the field.

He birdied 12, but Mowat was always within striking distance and it wasn't until he birdied 16 that he felt he could breathe easy.

"Once I got the final birdie on 16, I felt I could relax," he said. "On 17, I wanted to make a birdie to have a two-shot cushion. I knew 18 was driveable, but after seeing Mowat making par there, I knew I didn't have to go for the green."

He put his approach just over the green into the fringe, and elected to putt from there.

"That putt from off the green on 18 was straight into the grain," he said. "I felt I could chip it in but I knew I could make an easy two-putt and it would be fine."

That decision was emblematic of the way his game has rounded out since his last win - and one of the reasons for that is the relationship with his caddie, wife Abigail.

"My caddie lets me be aggressive like I want to be. There's no-one holding me back and she keeps me positive.

"She said I should do what I felt like doing on 18," he said. "I felt like laying up, but before I hit it, I asked her if she though I needed to go for the green. She looked at me, but I laughed and said, 'Let's lay up!'"

Through all that, it was his insistence on continuing to use driver on a course that was clearly punishing wayward tee shot severely throughout the week that eventually set him apart - and recalled the days of his early Sunshine Tour wins which came with freewheeling adventurousness.

"I enjoy playing adventurous golf," he said. "I can hit the ball far if I want to, but this week I didn't need to. Shape a draw or fade, that's fine with me. I love the course here. It's tight and I love that. Not everyone is as accurate as I am with the driver so I take advantage of that."

He was just relieved that taking advantage brought him his first win since June 2014.

"I've been playing well for a while but it hasn't been showing in my scores, but finally, something came," he said.

Scores:

283 - Daniel van Tonder 72 73 68 70

284 - Callum Mowat 73 75 68 68

287 - Neil Schietekat 71 72 74 70, Jacques Blaauw 69 75 71 72

288 - Rhys Enoch 71 74 72 71

289 - Ross McGowan 77 69 76 67, Christiaan Basson 73 72 75 69, Jaco Ahlers 73 74 72 70, JJ Senekal 73 73 69 74

290 - Jacques P de Villiers 73 71 77 69, Doug McGuigan 74 70 75 71, Jaco Prinsloo 72 72 74 72, Lyle Rowe 73 72 73 72

291 - Pieter Moolman 73 77 72 69, Jonathan Agren 77 70 74 70, Merrick Bremner 73 72 73 73, Steve Surry 73 73 70 75

292 - Ruan Conradie 78 71 72 71

293 - Hennie Otto 74 74 73 72, Kyle Pilgrim 71 74 75 73

294 - Daniel Greene 75 69 80 70, Anthony Michael 74 75 74 71, Fredrik From 72 74 75 73, Juran Dreyer 71 71 76 76, Thriston Lawrence 71 75 71 77

295 - CJ du Plessis 75 75 75 70, Jade Buitendag 73 73 77 72

296 - Michael Palmer 73 73 79 71, Andrew van der Knaap 73 77 75 71, Rhys West 73 75 76 72, Trevor Fisher Jnr 77 73 73 73, Dylan Naidoo 75 71 76 74, JC Ritchie 70 75 76 75, Rourke van der Spuy 71 76 74 75

297 - Madalitso Muthiya 77 74 71 75, Luke Jerling 77 71 73 76

298 - Chris Cannon 71 73 80 74, Kyle Barker 73 76 75 74, Stefan Wears-Taylor 77 73 72 76, Stephen Ferreira 69 73 79 77, Philip Eriksson 77 72 72 77

299 - Makhetha Mazibuko 77 73 78 71, Wynand Dingle 75 75 74 75, Benjamin Follett-Smith 71 74 78 76

301 - Derick Petersen 74 74 81 72, Dayne Moore 77 74 76 74

302 - Teaghan Gauche 72 78 80 72, Keenan Davidse 75 75 77 75, Ryan Cairns 74 77 73 78

303 - Luke Mayo 76 73 75 79

304 - Scott Campbell 78 72 80 74, Andrew Odoh 76 73 80 75, Ruan de Smidt 76 74 75 79, Thanda Mavundla 77 74 74 79

307 - Dylan Mostert 73 78 80 76

309 - Hayden Griffiths 72 75 81 81, Damon Stephenson 80 71 77 81

312 - Wallie Coetsee 76 70 89 77, Andre Nel 78 73 83 78, Michael Hollick 74 75 79 84

Read more on:    sunshine tour  |  daniel van tonder  |  golf

 

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