As Neil Schietekat started the final round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Simola Country Estate in search of a maiden professional victory, he was keeping a wary eye on just one person.
“I’m my own worst enemy. I don’t need to worry about anybody around me. I just need to focus on myself,” he said.
The 29-year-old Schietekat, who turned professional in 2006, has 16 top-10 finishes in his career, and has been runner-up either jointly or alone three times. The best of those runner-up finishes came in the 2011 Telkom PGA Championship when his barnstorming six-under-par final round was no match for George Coetzee’s eight-under 64 for the victory.
Schietekat was drawn for the final round with Jacques Blaauw, who turned professional in 2008 and was also searching for his first win. Also in the final group was Ruan de Smidt, a 2012 rookie who has already won on the Sunshine Tour.
For Schietekat and Blaauw, it was a question of doing their best to manage their expectations as much as their games.
Despite his double-bogey finish on the par-three ninth (his last hole in the second round), Schietekat felt optimistic about his overall game heading in the right direction going into the final round.
“Look, I hit one bad shot and it cost me a double. But I’m putting well. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I know that once that first win comes, a whole bunch will hopefully follow. I also know I can’t push too hard because I’ve tried that before and come up short.”
And Schietekat will be doing his best to focus on the one person who can challenge him on the final day – himself.