He didn’t think much of his putting on Friday, but Keith Horne still managed a five-under-par 67 with a birdie on the final hole to pull off a one-stroke victory in the R600,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung at Pezula Estate and Spa.
He chased down Ulrich van den Berg who was unable to take advantage of the run of four birdies in the first five holes of his homeward nine and make the final push for a victory which has been elusive on the 2014 Sunshine Tour.
Instead, after a single bogey on his second hole, Horne held his nerve and picked up six birdies at regular intervals for the rest of the round – and, in the end, he had a little two-footer for birdie on the last to give him the final edge.
“That was probably as badly as I have putted for a long time,” said Horne, “so it was a good thing that I was hitting it close all day. I kept finishing inside 10 or 12 feet, and that made things a little easier for me.
“My ball-striking was excellent this week, especially the last 27 holes. I hit the ball so well that I put myself under no pressure. I missed one fairway in two days and two greens in two days. Thank goodness for that, because the putter was diabolical,” he added of a day on which he had 34 putts in his 67.
The victory gave Horne his second Vodacom Origins of Golf victory for the year after he won at St Francis Links in August, and lifted him to seventh on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
Van den Berg picked up his third runner-up finish of the year, and his 11th top-10, and he finds himself in 10th spot on the Order of Merit.
Behind him, Dylan Frittelli turned things around after a pair of successive bogeys on his homeward nine seemed about to send him sliding way out of contention. He rallied with four birdies in his final six holes and finished in third on 11-under-par, two shots behind Horne and one behind Van den Berg.
For Horne, it was a seventh victory on the Sunshine Tour, and vindicated a decision to take time off at the beginning of the year. “It’s been 13 years on the road, travelling overseas, and I wanted to spend time at home with my family,” he said. “I think it actually worked out. I’ve been playing again for three months and my body feels so much stronger.”