11th February 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Clinical Calderon clinches Eye of Africa PGA Champs
Chilean rising star, Matias Calderon sunk a 40-foot long putt for birdie in an unblemished seven-under-par 65 final round of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship to win his maiden Sunshine Tour title on Sunday.
“I had already made one long putt for par on number 13 or 14 if I’m not wrong,” said the young Chilean of his thoughts on that final hole. “And, for some reason when I looked at it, I was like ‘if I give this the proper pace, it’s going to go in’, so I just focused on pace and I don’t know, for some reason I thought it had a chance.”
Calderon went into the final round of this R1.5 million event trailing overnight leader, Combrinck Smit, by six shots at this Greg Norman-designed golf course and got right into it with an eagle on the par-five second hole.
“To be honest, when I started the round, I just tried to do my game and see what was going to happen without worrying about Combrinck,” he said about the huge gap between himself and Smit, “but, coming down the stretch it, obviously, starts getting into a bit of match-play. But, I just tried to do my game and luckily for me I played very well.”
He played well, indeed, because after that eagle on the second, he made two birdies to turn in 32. His back nine was just as solid because as Smit dropped shots on the 10th and 13th holes, Calderon holed three more birdies to get to 17-under, a shot clear of Smit.
Not only does he claim the glory which comes with winning this prestigious event, Calderon was also incentivised by way of a house stand at the Eye of Africa Signature Golf Estate.
“I am very happy today,” he said, “it’s been a great week, even with the delays. I just can’t be happier at this moment. It was an amazing round and thank God the putter was hot today. This is the biggest win I have had in my short career, so it means a lot to me.”
Despite losing out in the end, Smit put in a strong fight this week as he led the tournament from the first round to the start of the last. Calderon’s victory here marks his fourth career win as he had already won three times on the Tour de Pacifico, and judging by the way he and Smit went at it this week, it is safe to say the future of the Sunshine Tour is looking bright.