Fast start wins Selborne for Jacques

Jacques Blaauw started fast and was never headed after he took the lead in the final round on Friday of the R600,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Selborne Park Golf Club.


The 27-year-old who plays out of Centurion won his second career title just three weeks after his maiden victory in a performance that left his pursuers unable to match him despite their best efforts.


And they were good efforts: Danie van Tonder and defending champion Adilson Da Silva each posted a final round score of six-under-par 66, but Blaauw’s eight-under 64 was too good to be caught.


“The front nine was amazing golf,” said Blaauw, “the best golf I’ve played this year – and maybe the best of my career.”


It was on the opening nine that he made six birdies to draw level with the lead, and he even felt he might have left a birdie or two out there. But he was chasing birdies, so it was mission accomplished. “I had to have a fast start,” he said, “because Merrick Bremner was three shots ahead of me. I knew I had to get up to his score pretty quickly, and put some pressure on him.”


Bremner had opened with a nine-under-par 63, and followed it with a 68 to hold the lead over Da Silva going into the final round, but he struggled his way to a two-under-par 70 to finish in fourth.


Blaauw ascribed the victory in part to the experience he picked up in winning his first title at the Vodacom Origins event at Simola. “I came from behind in that one after a poor start on the front nine, but I’m riding the wave now,” he said.


“I was a little bit nervous at the start, and even after starting pretty quickly and going into the back nine because I had just a one-shot lead when I went onto the 15th tee-box,” he added.


The 15th had been a problem for him in the first two rounds, as he’d made bogey each day on the toughest hole on the course. He ended up making a good par from a poor tee-shot there. “I just hung in there and managed to close it,” he said.


He did so in some style with his tee shot on the 267-metre 18th, a distance which was such a temptation to the players all week. “I wasn’t hitting my driver well at all,” he said. “I knew my two-iron wouldn’t get me there, and, although three-wood was the right play, a thinned driver made it nicely to the green, 20 feet from the hole for eagle.”


He missed the eagle putt, got safely down for birdie, and watched as Da Silva came agonisingly close to making birdie there too to force a playoff.


Da Silva hit a miraculous recovery shot from next to a tree truck short of the green and saw his birdie attempt from 15 feet on the back fringe just lip out.


In the end, Blaauw’s 64 was a pretty compelling argument for his being the best player of the week, and lifts him to 37th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.


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