Early on in his round, Daniel Hammond shook off the only three-putt of his final round on Friday to card a five-under-par 67 on his way to a one-stroke victory in the Modderfontein Golf Club leg of the Big Easy Tour.
His final score of nine-under par 135 for the 36-hole event edged out Mark Murless and Jason Viljoen, with Wynand Dingle, who carded a brilliant eight-under 63, in fourth.
“My putting was good throughout the round,” said Hammond, “except for that three-putt on the fourth when I made my only bogey today.”
He’d started the day with a birdie on the first, surrendered that gain with the three-putt, and then put his foot down with three consecutive birdies from six to eight. He made two more birdies on his way in, on 13 and 16 to move into the lead.
On 18, with the approach over water and the hole location teasingly close to the back left and danger, he elected to find the putting surface and play safe with two putts for par. That safety-first tactic nearly when awry when he pushed his approach putt well right to six feet. But he sank the par putt to hold on to his lead.
“It’s a great relief,” said Hammond, “because I’ve been battling to put two good rounds together in the last couple of tournaments on the Big Easy Tour. I’d start well and then fall away on the second day, so I’m really chuffed to get the job done this week.”
With the 18th offering such a challenging approach shot, both Murless and Viljoen were faced with a choice of attacking the flag of playing safe. Murless chose the latter option, and nearly holed his birdie attempt from 35 feet. He settled for par, while Viljoen went for the flag, overshot the green, and, although his chip was a good one, he too fell one short.
Dingle turned in a fine 33, and then he lit up his back nine with four birdies and an eagle to come home in 30.
For Hammond, the win has given him exactly what he was looking for: A boost in confidence ahead of his return to the tournaments of the Sunshine Tour.