17th January 2018 | Sunshine Tour
A season of firsts for Ritchie
Back-to-back rounds of seven-under-par 65 in the final two rounds of last week’s BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni handed JC Ritchie his maiden top-five finish in a co-sanctioned event and marked the highlight of his season as the last few events of the campaign draw nearer.
While the 2017-18 season brought a maiden Sunshine Tour win for Ritchie in the form of the 2017 Zimbabwe Open, the highlight for the 24-year old thus far is his third-place finish at last week’s BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni and co-sanctioned with the European Tour.
“I’ve taken quite a bit of confidence out of my last few events,” said Ritchie of his finish at the second-oldest open championship in the world. “I haven’t really managed to score in those but I’ve played really well. I was 14-under for the weekend and I can’t really explain it, it’s pretty amazing”
His last six results include a top-10 at Sun Boardwalk, two missed cuts and a top-30 at the Joburg Open where he finished 27th, while he came in at 32nd at the Vodacom Origins of Golf in St. Francis and 36th at Sun Sibaya Challenge.
As massive an achievement as his finish was last week, Ritchie still misses out of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA because he is not a member of the European Tour. He was still happy with his finish at his national open championship.
“That finish is pretty special for me,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to this event because I’ve played well at Glendower in the smaller events. And, the SA Open has always been a special event; the crowds, it’s been amazing. With the seasons that I have had, I had expected to have a finish like this soon and I’m glad it happened.”
Now, with a solid start to the year as he has had, the reigning Zimbabwe Open champion will look forward to his title-defence when the new season begins in April. And, in his current form, who is to say a successful one is impossible?