Bryce Easton overcame two bogeys and a double bogey on his closing nine on Friday to take a one-stroke victory in the opening Sunshine Big Easy Tour event presented by Stonehage at Crown Mines Golf Club.
The 23-year-old-rookie had moved to five-under-par through nine holes in the second round of the 36-hole event, and promptly dropped a shot on the 10th.
He regained it with a birdie on 12, but he followed up with a bogey on 13 and then a double on 14.
ÂThings were definitely wobbling,Â he said.
But he righted the ship with three more birdies in his closing four holes to pull a single stroke clear of Thabang Simon.
EastonÂs closing 68 matched SimonÂs final round score, and, having made just one cut on the Sunshine Tour this year, earned himself a cheque for R14,000 and his biggest payday of a fledgling professional after his share of 69th place in the Dimension Data Pro-Am.
ÂItÂs really wonderful for players like myself who have been struggling on the main tour to be able to get tournaments where we have a chance to develop our games enough that we can actually win,Â said Easton.
The KwaZulu-Natal player, who spent four years at Texas Arlington University on a scholarship, last won when he was in the United States.
Simon was much more consistent in his final round, making just a single drop on the 13th, but that was costly as he lost the chance to ease into a playoff with Easton.
There were eight players in a share of third place on two-under-par, three strokes off the pace, zand four players on a share of 11th place on one-under.
Easton was enthusiastic about the lessons he was able to learn from his victory: ÂI have been kind of going to sleep during my rounds lately, just like I did on 13 and 14,Â he said.
ÂI was able to pull myself together and finish off, even though I was not sure that five-under was going to be enough Â I thought six-under would win it,Â he added.
Now he goes into the second event of the 10-tournament series with a professional victory under his belt Â and, in golf, thatÂs priceless.