Mazibuko leads Vusi graduates onto Sunshine Tour

In the end, the 10-shot margin Makgetha Mazibuko held as he won the Vusi Ngubeni Q-School on Friday at Observatory Golf Club told the full tale.

While his final-round three-under-par 69 was littered with four bogeys and a double-bogey, the seven birdies and an eagle spoke eloquently enough of his superiority over the four days as he signed for his fourth successive sub-70 round.

“I set myself a target of 20-under-par,” said the 25-year-old from Bloemfontein, “and obviously I did a bit better than that.”

His understatement concealed the fact that Omar Sandys and Heinrich Bruiners were 11-under-par for the tournament, but never in the mix as Mazibuko started the day with a seven-stroke lead which he simply extended with four birdies in his closing six holes.

His victory in the tournament, named for Vusi Ngubeni, a Sunshine Tour board member and a director of Eskom who was killed in a 2003 motor accident, gave him his Sunshine Tour card for the 2013 season – and it gave cards to 15 other players, all of those who finished on three-under-par 285 and better.

That list included the likes of Sipho Bujela and Musiwalo Nethunzwi, two confident young players from Modderfontein Golf Club who signed away their amateur status ahead of the tournament, so confident were they that they would earn their cards.

And the players who finished on two-under to nine-over-par earned playing privileges on the 2013 Sunshine Big Easy Tour presented by Stonehage, the ‘development’ tour which has started to produce players who perform well on the main tour.

Mazibuko started shakily with a bogey on the first and another on the third, but kept his round on an even keel with birdies on two and four.

But things looked as if they might spin out of control as bogeys on six and eight saw him slip back to within grasping distance of the chasing pack.

But then he holed his bunker shot on the ninth for eagle, and that gave him the confidence he needed. “That eagle really turned things around for me,” he said. “I was just trying to get it up and down, and instead I got it up and in!”

Five birdies decorated the homeward nine on his scorecard, and not even a double-bogey six on the 12th could derail the Mazibuko express as it chugged home.

For Sandys and Bruiners – both of whom are experienced campaigners on the Sunshine Tour – second place brought another year of action for them after Sandys had lost the status he has held for so long, and Bruiners completed a bounce back from a potentially career-ending injury.

For Mazibuko, a determined campaign is just starting. “I’ve practiced hard, and I wanted to build on what I learned in the few events I played on the Sunshine Tour last year,” he said. “Now I want to be competitive.”

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