Jake survives 5-hole playoff for victory in Platinum Classic

Not even a cobra slithering across the 16th fairway at Mooinooi Golf Club could attract attention away from the compelling victory Jake Roos carved out in the Platinum Classic presented by UD Trucks.

Roos was taken to the fifth hole of a sudden death playoff after finishing an 14-under-par 202 together with Chris Swanepoel and Anthony Michael, and when he sank a wriggly little three-footer for birdie on the 16th, he had earned himself the lion’s share of the R500,000 purse and the first world ranking points ever allocated to a 54-hole event as the Sunshine Tour’s ‘winter’ events are recognised by the Official World Golf Rankings body.

Although it’s only four points for a win – and 2.4 for second, 1.6 for third and 1.2 for fourth – the international recognition is important for the players and the Sunshine Tour.

And, with his wife Rhone on his bag for the last time as she starts a new job next week, those five holes were played under the hot bushveld sun.

“It was gruelling but I felt good in the playoff,” said Roos. “I felt relaxed, so I knew as long as I was in there, I had a good chance.”

He had to fight to get in there in the first place as Michael set the target in the clubhouse with a course record-equalling nine-under-par 63, as he matched the mark set by Richard Kaplan and by Jbe’ Kruger.

And then Swanepoel finished off a round of seven-under 65 to barge his way into contention with Michael, just as the man who looked for all the world as if he had the title sewn up, Warren Abery stumbled over the final two holes.

Abery slid from 14-under to 12-under as he pulled his tee shot on 17 out of bounds and made bogey there, and, shaken up, pushed his tee shot on 18 into the rough and he had no shot to the green and made bogey there too.

Dean Burmester almost joined the party in the playoff when he eagled 17 and very nearly chipped in for birdie on 18. He settled for a share of fifth with Ulrich van den Berg.

It was Roos’ third playoff victory for his third Sunshine Tour title – and his fourth playoff win overall as he won a title in Switzerland – and the experience showed as he remained calm throughout.

But getting into the playoff was a close-run thing as he made four birdies in the first 10 holes. In a barnstorming finish, though, he fought back: “I almost made eagle on 17 – I just lipped out low and it was a really good putt – and I made a good putt on 18 for birdie,” he said.

His putting was something he relied on all week. “I’ve felt good the whole week, making putts, so I knew I just had to hang in and something was going to happen,” he said.

After a quiet 2011, this tournament represented some redemption for a player who looked so good when he won his last title back in 2009. “I haven’t won in a couple of years, so it’s nice to get a bit of confidence going. I’m going to try and build on this and I’m excited about the rest of the year.”

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