On Sunday Oliver Bekker was ÂspeechlessÂ when he lifted the Dimension Data Pro-Am trophy, but his golf had already done the talking across The Links, Montagu and Outeniqua courses at Fancourt.
ÂEvery time I finish with a win everybody looks so excited, but I am just relieved that I managed to stay in front. ItÂs like a weight has lifted off your shoulders,Â he said.
Two late bogeys kept him on his toes, but Bekker composed himself and sealed the deal with a 10-footer for birdie at the 18th, ending his second round at Montagu in 70 strokes and underscoring his victory.
ÂItÂs an awesome feeling to win the Di-Data (Pro-Am) Â itÂs one of the premier events on our tour Â itÂs what you dream about on the Sunshine Tour,Â said the 27-year-old.
The tournament sees 156 professionals team up with amateurs in a betterball format, while the professional competition is played in a strokeplay format. All players play a round at The Links, Outeniqua and Montagu courses, ahead of a cut and a final round at Montagu. The team of Jean Hugo and Sunshine Tour executive director Selwyn Nathan successfully defended their title with a 31-under-par betterball tally.
Bekker headed into the final round at 11-under, one stroke clear of Merrick Bremner. He had a quiet front stretch and only moved ahead of par at the ninth, where he made birdie.
He raced into the second nine, making birdies at the 10th and 11th, but could not sustain the pace and dropped shots at the 13th and 15th, giving his chasers a sniff of victory.
But the Stellenbosch Golf Club professional would not be outdone and played regulation golf until the 18th, where he boxed a 10-footer for a two-stroke victory over Thomas Aiken and Tyrone Ferreira.
Ferreira burst into contention when he eagled the 18th, but Bekker stayed ahead, and composure won the day. Aiken was hindered by drops at the third, 14th and 15th and failed to overcome the deficit.
Bekker won the Northern Cape Classic last year, but felt that his win in George outshone his maiden victory. ÂThis win really eclipses my first victory. To play these courses and to come out on top is really something,Â he said.
He opened the tournament with a superb 65 at Montagu and went on to card 70 at Outeniqua on day two, all the while staying up there. His third round, which he played at The Links, started horribly Â he double-bogeyed the first and bogeyed the third Â but he recovered the shots with a birdie at the seventh and an eagle at the ninth. He eventually signed for 71 at the par-73 course to head into Sunday at 11-under.
By the end of Sunday, Bekker was far happier with his game and was ready to tackle the next tournament. ÂThe things I am working on are simple, and you end up focusing on those things and that actually helps you to play well. It narrows your focus,Â he said.