Ryan Cairns pulled two strokes clear of his contenders by the turn on Wednesday and didnÂt look back on his way to a two-stroke victory at the Sunshine Big Easy Tour Observatory tournament presented by Stonehage.
ÂIt was weird going into the second nine, because I was two ahead at the turn and shot 28 on that nine yesterday. I didnÂt want to get stuck into ÂyesterdayÂ mode, because then expectation comes into it, and thatÂs a killer. I just took every shot as it came and that worked for me,Â he said.
The Zimbabwean shot 63 during round one, and on Wednesday added 66 to the tally, moving to 15-under-par and claiming a two-shot victory over runner-up Jeff Inglis.
ÂI was very diligent with my routine, and that was the difference this week. IÂve been working really hard on my game since September. This week really came out of nowhere, because IÂve been playing well, but I havenÂt been scoring well. I havenÂt broken 70 in three months and then in two days I go 15-under, so the hard work has paid off,Â said Cairns.
The 28-year-old raced around the par-37 front stretch in 32 after an eagle at the second catapulted him to the lead. ÂAt the second I hit driver off the tee, and then I had 184 to the hole and I took a seven-iron to 20 feet and then rolled it in. It was a really, really good way to start the day,Â he said.
While an incredible 61 players finished the tournament below par, CairnsÂ prowess around the greens was the key to his success and he added: ÂMy short game was very sharp. I chipped in twice this week. I feel very confident around the greens, which feeds into the rest of your game. You know that if you miss a green you can chip and putt, so you have far more confidence off the tee.Â
Inglis shot an astounding 62 yesterday, but could not maintain his frenetic pace and shot 69 in the second round to take sole possession of second.
A further stroke back were Thabang Simon, Ruan de Smidt and Danie van Tonder. Simon won the Big Easy TourÂs ERPM tournament last year and showed that he still has what it take to challenge.
Van Tonder and De Smidt are two of the Sunshine TourÂs leading rookies and once again showed that there is a healthy rivalry developing amongst the youngsters of the Tour with their share of third.
After a very dry spell, Cairns was elated with his victory and set his sights on loftier goals. ÂIt was very special to win and I take a lot of confidence away from this. The Zimbabwe Open starts in three weeks; itÂs at my home course and thatÂs the one I really want to prepare for. There is a lot of sentimental value to the Zim Open for me, and this is a great way to go into it,Â he said.