Colin Nel (@Colin_Nel) was happy to lift the Wild Waves Golf Challenge trophy after the final round was cancelled on Friday due to winds that were strong enough to move balls off the greens at Wild Coast Sun Country Club.
“I went to varsity at Oklahoma City and it blows a bit there, but I’ve never played in conditions quite like this. Today I got to the third tee when they pulled us off and the first few holes were treacherous. The wind was very strong and I think it was the right call, because the balls were moving and flags were being blown off the greens,” he said.
The 30-year-old has campaigned on the Sunshine Tour since 2009 without a win, but all of that changed on Friday when he clinched the lion’s share of the R700,000 prize fund.
“It’s a great feeling that hasn’t quite set in yet. After coming off and waiting for three hours it got a bit nerve-wracking, so I’m very pleased with the victory. Everyone is going for their first win and often once the ice is broken then more wins follow,” he said.
Nel was comfortably the best player over 36 holes at Wild Coast Sun Country Club and shot 65 on both Wednesday and Thursday for a 10-under-par total and a three-shot victory.
On Friday winds blowing at 45 kilometres per hour and gusting up to 65 prevented the conclusion of the final round. The forecast predicted worse conditions for the next two days and Tournament Director Gary Todd made the call to decide the tournament based on the 36-hole scores.
For Nel it meant a maiden victory in his home province and with the upcoming Vodacom Origins of Golf event being played at the same venue there was extra reason to celebrate.
“I’m a Sharks boy and this place is down the road from my house, so it certainly feels good to win here. I played nicely this week and made every putt I looked at. I’m holding thumbs for next week, because we’re playing on the same course,” he said.
Ulrich van den Berg shot rounds of 68, 65 at the par-70 track for a share of second and was joined by Jared Harvey on seven-under-par for the week. Ockie Strydom, Heinrich Bruiners, Tyrone Mordt, Jaco Ahlers and James Kamte all shared fourth place on six-under-par.