After eight years on the Sunshine Tour, and a career littered with near-misses, PH McIntyre took his maiden professional title with a play-off victory on the third extra hole of the R600,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung tournament at Vaal de Grace Golf Estate.
That he saw off the attentions of play-off king Jake Roos, who won the first five of his six Sunshine Tour titles in play-offs, made the achievement even more meritorious.
“I won all of my matches in the Match Play Championships a couple of years ago on the 19th,” laughed McIntyre afterwards, “so I was actually calmer in the play-off than I was in regulation.”
It was an emotional win for the 28-year-old McIntyre, who had a sizeable contingent from Heidelberg Golf Club, out of which he plays, supporting him. “My Dad has been very ill,” he said. “He’s been in intensive care for about a month, and it was a very difficult time – flying to visit him in the Cape. So this win’s for him.”
He and Roos started the final round level on 12-under, and after regulation play, they were still locked up on 16-under with rounds of 68 under their belts.
“I missed an easy putt on the par-three 14th,” said McIntyre, “and, with only a one-stroke lead on a guy like Jake… well, that’s not enough.”
They had both reached the turn in three-under 33, but McIntyre’s bogey on nine had let Roos back in. He regained the lead with a birdie at the 10th, but a missed putt at 12 saw them level again for the next hole. A birdie on 14 had McIntyre ahead by one again, and Roos responded with a birdie of his own on 17 to level matters.
They halved the first play-off hole in par after McIntyre was unable to take advantage of Roos finding the fairway sand hazard off the tee, and then both grazed the hole with lengthy birdie putts on the second play-off hole.
Roos’ 10-footer for birdie on the third attempt caught the lip on the right, and then McIntyre stepped up and slotted his eight-footer for the win.
Four strokes behind McIntyre and Roos, was a group of five players, which included Shaun Norris, who was one of two players who carded a six-under 66 in the final round. The others were brothers Steven and Tyrone Ferreira, Jean Hugo and Jaco Ahlers.
“It hasn’t really sunk in,” McIntyre said, as do so many first-time winners. “This changes things for sure. You always have doubts when you’re not winning, but you have to just keep trying. This means an awful lot to me.”