Maritz wins tough Irene contest

Scoring was tough during the final round of Big Easy Irene, but Maritz Wessels made it look easy as he shot 33 on the back nine of Irene Country Club to win his maiden tournament.


“It’s a lovely feeling to win and once you’ve done it you feel like you can go out there and compete on the bigger stage. You know that you’ve managed to handle the pressure and it really does boost the confidence going into the second half of the season,” he said.


The 26-year-old began the day three shots behind overnight leader Neil Cheetham, but pulled through for a one-shot victory with a closing 69 that included birdies at the 16th and 17th.


“The birdie on 16 gave me an idea that I was close and then I managed to get the job done with another birdie on the next hole,” said Wessels. “The wind picked up and the greens were quick, so it was very exciting to come out on top today.”


On day one the Pretoria local closed with three birdies in his last four holes to card level-par 72 and keep himself in the running.


During the final round he remained calm, despite the four runners-up who came within a shot of catching him. It was a solid display by Wessels, who also gains a spot at the Big Easy Tour Championship in September.


The top 30 on the Big Easy Order of Merit compete in the season finale, which is held at The Els Club, Copperleaf. The top five players on the final Order of Merit will earn playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour for 2015.


“It’s very exciting to have the Tour Championship at Copperleaf, which is my new home club. It would be ideal if I could secure a tour card for next year and free myself up to focus on the big events at the end of this season,” said the new champion.


Two-time Big Easy winner Morne Buys carded 68 on Tuesday and finished at two-under-par for the tournament. JC Ritchie and Ryan Clarke soon joined him on the number, while Roberto Lupini completed the four-man tie for second place after he made a hole-in-one at the 16th.


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