Bryce Easton produced his second eagle of the day on Saturday on the 18th at the Lost City Golf Course to win a four-man sudden-death playoff for the R550,000 Sun City Challenge.
ÂThe hole kind of sets up for me,Â he said, Âso I could fade the ball into the pin, even though it was close to the water.Â He deposited his approach in regulation play about 10 feet from the hole, and boxed the putt. He did almost exactly the same thing in the playoff, putting the pressure on Brandon Pieters who was 20 feet from the pin.
The other two in the playoff were Andrew Georgiou and Allan Versfeld: Georgiou had put his third within birdie range, but missed, and Versfeld flew the green and was unable to get up and down for birdie Â so they were out.
PietersÂ eagle putted lipped cruelly out, and Georgiou went close with his birdie putt, so it was all down to a repeat performance by Easton, and the putt didnÂt look like missing.
ÂOnce I got to 18, I was a bit surprised to see the lead was nine-under,Â said Easton, who had battled his way around the final round and was two-over heading down the last.
ÂOnce I saw I had a chance, it became a little easier knowing exactly what I had to do,Â he said. And those two approach shots Â the one in regulation and the other in the playoff Â put huge pressure on his competitors.
In the end, it was enough for the win, but it was a close-run thing.
The four all took different routes into the playoff. Easton eagled the 18th, Versfeld made birdie, Georgiou a par, and Pieters dropped a shot as the quartet all finished on nine-under-par 207 and made their way down the 18th one more time for the sudden-death playoff.
James Kamte had a shot at winning the thing outright before that, too: He had a relatively easy second shot into the 18th, and an eagle would have given him victory, a birdie a spot in te ever-expanding playoff.
But he pushed his approach into the water on the right of the 18th green, and although he made a good up-and-down for par, he had let his chance slip Â probably even earlier than that final error when he made three bogeys in five holes at the start of the final nine.
For Easton, it was the culmination of a process which got underway when he won the first Sunshine Big Easy Tour event last year, and then got a second-place finish behind Oliver Bekker in the Northern Cape Classic.
ÂI have been playing well, but havenÂt managed to put together three or four consecutive good rounds,Â he said.
When he closed with three consecutive birdies in his second round, he put himself into a position to change that Â and two consecutive eagles saw his career take flight.