“It’s tough when you’ve got to close it out. That middle portion of the back nine is tricky at Royal Cape and I hit a few snags along the way, so it’s nice to come through like I did and to sign that score card,” he said.
The 22-year-old and his father, Kevin, played in and made the cut at this week’s R1,2-million tournament. His dad was the first to congratulate him at the 18th green.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more. To not only play in the event with him, but to win it and share a hug with him after walking off the 18th is story book. It’s definitely something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” he said.
Stone left no doubt as to his ability and was 16-under-par for the week after carding rounds of 73, 66, 63, 70 at Royal Cape Golf Club. He was ecstatic to claim his maiden victory in the Mother City.
“It was always going to be special, no matter where I won, but to have it here at Royal Cape makes it that little bit more special. I’m going to have a nice braai with the family tonight and take it all in,” he said.
Conditions were tough during the third round on Saturday, which is commonly known as ‘moving day’. Stone got rolling in spite of the tough weather and shot a near-flawless 63 to take a three-shot lead into the final round.
On Sunday he was off like a shot after making birdie at the first. He never looked back and made the turn in 34 to leave the other contenders playing for second.
On the stretch he was hitting the ball beautifully, but had a shaky spell where he made bogeys at the 14th and 16th. He brought a shot back after draining a 15-foot birdie putt at the 17th and it was plain sailing from there.
A fortnight ago the former South African number one amateur earned a European Tour card, which, coupled with his Sunday victory, made his future look very bright.
“All those thousands and thousands of golf balls hit in the sweltering heat and the rain are finally paying off. Right now I’m a walking zombie, running on the emotion right now. I’m trying to take it all in and I’ll figure out the future tomorrow morning,” he said.