Theunis ups and downs his way to maiden win at Zimbabwe Open

After three days of persistent rain and one of perfect sunshine, Theunis Spangenberg finally lifted his maiden Sunshine Tour title at the rain-affected Africom Zimbabwe Open.

The 72-hole tournament was eventually reduced to 54 holes due to the many rain and thunderstorm delays experienced during the first three days. In fact only half of the field managed to play their second round on Friday while the rest were forced to complete their rounds on Saturday morning.

Spangenberg, who was one of those to complete their second round on Friday, did not hit a single shot yesterday. However this did not seem to affect him as he came out fresh this morning and did all of the necessary work on the first nine turning in two-under par. At that point he held a healthy four-shot lead.

The nerves then got to him on the second nine as he struggled to find any consistency finding only two fairways and two greens in regulation.

Nevertheless, he managed to up-and-down on all but one green and needed only a two-putt on the last for his two-stroke victory over Matthew Carvell who leapt into second place alone after a superb eight-under par 64 final round.

“I’m speechless you know,” said Spangenberg after lifting the trophy. “It’s a nice feeling to stand here. I was confident coming here although I didn’t expect to win which is a bit of a negative feeling, but now I am just happy to be standing here with the trophy.”

Spangenberg revealed that the nerves really got to him on the 14th hole when he failed to up-and-down from just off the green, and the wheels looked to be coming off on the next hole when his tee-shot sailed right over the back of the green into some thick rough under a tree.

His next shot however proved he was worth the title as he chipped the ball just past the hole and calmly rolled the putt into the cup causing him to give a small fist pump to celebrate.

And as his playing partners, Deane Pappas and Darryn Lloyd seemed to self-destruct over the last three holes, Spangenberg kept calm and recorded three regulation pars for a total of 15-under par 201.

Born and bred out of Kathu in the Northern Cape Spangenberg, like last year’s champion Jbe’ Kruger, grew up playing the Sishen Golf course which he claimed is very similar to the Royal Harare Golf Club.

“This course is tight like the Sishen course,” he said. “You have to place the ball very well in the fairways and you have to read the greens well and putt well.”

“But then again you have to play well on any golf course to win, but there is definitely a similarity to Sishen Golf Club here.” He added.

With this win Spangenberg earns himself a cheque for R198 125 and a full two-year exemption on the Sunshine Tour.

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