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Golf | SA

Leon Visser © CJ du Plooy

Visser wins Kyalami title in playoff



Mpumalanga amateur Leon Visser kept a cool head to edge out Anton Haig and Tristen Strydom in a sudden-death playoff for his second IGT Challenge Tour title at Kyalami Country Club on Wednesday.

Visser had an eagle putt at the final hole outright in regulation play, but missed. Over the two extra holes, though, the 20-year-old from Ermelo played faultless golf to win the ninth event in the Race to Q-School Series.

Strydom – hunting consecutive victories after his fourth triumph on the country’s premier golf development circuit at State Mines last week – headed into the final round two shots behind overnight leader Haig. He fired birdies at 17 and 18 for a three-under-par 69 to set the clubhouse target at four-under 212.

First-round leader Visser trailed Haig by one shot, but he offset a pair of bogeys with three birdies and boxed the birdie putt at 18 to grab a share of the lead with a two-under 70.

Peetie van der Merwe briefly flirted with the lead, but Haig regained control with a pair of birdies at 12 and 13. His title bid took a hit with back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16, though, but the four-time IGT Challenge Tour winner holed a birdie-putt at 18 for a 71 to join the tie at the top.

“We played 17 first and I was first off the tee,” said Visser. “I was on the green, but Anton and Tristen both blocked their tee-shots right. They hit two great chip shots and we all made par.

“I went first again at 18 and drove it straight down the middle. Haigie went with a three-wood, also straight down the middle, but Tristen hit his driver too good and finished into the dam. My five-iron approach finished just short of the green and Haigie hit his pin-high left. He cleared the bunker with another great chip and hit it to five feet.

“I took a nine-iron and hit a bump-and-run to about 25 feet. I was almost in the exact position from where I missed the eagle putt in regulation play. I knew he would make the putt, so I had to box it to stay in the play-off. I decided to hit it straight and firm this time and this time, the ball dropped.

“I couldn’t believe it when Haigie’s birdie putt lipped out. I was staring at his ball in shock and it didn’t even register that I’d won. It was only when my caddie congratulated me that it hit home.

“I put a lot of hours into my game the since I won the Services Challenge in September and it’s great when all that hard work pay off. There is always room to improve, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy this moment. Hopefully I can build on it in the coming weeks.”

FINAL SCORES

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:

212 - Leon Visser AMA 66 76 70

212 - Tristen Strydom 70 73 69, Anton Haig 72 69 71

214 - Juran Dreyer AMA 74 71 69, Roberto Lupini 68 75 71, Peetie van der Merwe AMA 67 75 72

215 - Ruan Korb 71 75 69, Estiaan Conradie 69 76 70

216 - Eric Nel AMA 73 72 71, Maritz Wessels 69 75 72, Jacques de Villiers 69 74 73, Philip Geerts (ITA) 71 71 74

217 - Hayden Griffiths AMA 71 80 66, Tertius van den Berg 75 72 70, Ru-Juan Lessingh AMA 67 77 73, David McIntyre AMA 70 74 73, Cameron Moralee AMA 68 76 73

218 - Louis Albertse AMA 68 79 71

219 - Jason Roets 70 78 71, Pieter Moolman 69 77 73, Justin Turner 73 73 73

220 - Conway Kunneke 70 78 72, Duane Keun 72 76 72

223 - Marthin Scheepers 71 80 72, Theunis Bezuidenhout AMA 72 77 74, Wayne Stroebel 75 73 75, Ruhan van Dijk AMA 71 74 78

224 - Bryce Myburgh 74 74 76

225 - Armand van Dyk AMA 80 73 72, Michael Schutz 74 77 74, Louis Botha 73 75 77

226 - Matthew Vogel 71 81 74, Paul Boshoff 72 80 74, Luke Brown AMA 69 81 76, Garth Wolter 73 75 78

227 - Jade Buitendag 73 78 76, Arno Pretorius AMA 71 78 78

228 - Tristan Maharaj AMA 76 76 76

229 - Zabastian de Jager 73 79 77, Tom Watson AMA 75 76 78, Keelan van Wyk AMA 71 75 83

231 - Nicklas van Wyk AMA 75 78 78, Jack Duthie 75 78 78, Paulo Serrao AMA (POR) 72 79 80

233 - Basil Wright 72 82 79, Dylan Docherty 76 77 80, Andrew Carlsson AMA 74 78 81

234 - Matthew Rossouw AMA 77 77 80, Eric Park (KOR) 76 76 82

239 - Shaun Bernstein AMA 75 79 85



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