Jean Hugo had to ward off complacency in the final nine holes on Saturday of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Pretoria Country Club as he cruised to a three-stroke victory.
His opening nine all but won him the R540,000 tournament as he made two eagles and two birdies to turn in six-under-par 30.
ÂIt was a battle on the back nine, having such a good cushion,Â he admitted, Âand I lost my way a bit off the tee to I had to work hard to keep it all together.Â
He managed to make some pressure putts to save par after dropping a shot on the 11th, and he made a safe par on the 18th to defeat Adilson Da Silva and George Coetzee by three strokes with his 11-under-par total of 205 for the 54-hole tournament.
But it was a soaring six-iron in to the ninth which set up the second of his eagles that defined his round, as he left himself with a two-footer for the eagle and launched him to a five-stroke cushion as he turned.
But after the turn, that Midas touch began to desert him as he missed fairways three times in succession off the tee.
ÂI was aware of the fact that as we headed for home that Adilson could easily get to nine-under,Â said Hugo, Âand George was making a bit of a charge, so I needed to keep it together.
He did just that with a pressure 25-footer for par on the 16th. ÂI had a bit of a fluffy lie, and I wasnÂt sure how it would come out,Â he said after he hit his tee shot right of the green.
ÂI just wanted to get it to 15, 20 feet,Â he said, and he managed to get it almost that close despite not having much green to work with, and the green sloping away from him.
He sank the putt to save par and keep any possible challenge at bay.
Coetzee had a horror start on his home course as he made four bogeys in his opening seven holes.
But he pulled a shot back with a birdie on nine, and then three more birdies on his way home lifted him back into second with Da Silva.
Da Silva, who won the previous tournament on the Sunshine Tour a fortnight ago, battled throughout the week with a painful wrist, but still managed to string together a final-round 68.
In a share of fourth place, a further two strokes back, were rookie Allan Versfeld and qualifier PG van Zyl.
Hugo savoured the win, which was a repeat of his victory in the corresponding opening event in last yearÂs Vodacom Origins of Golf series at Gardener Ross.
ÂItÂs my fifth win in this series,Â he noted, Âand itÂs never that easy with the level of play on the Sunshine Tour, and the quality of young players coming through.Â