Christiaan Basson had two putts to win the R650,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event presented by Samsung at St Francis Links on Saturday, and he was happy to take them as his 11-under-par total saw him to a one-stroke victory.
He carded a closing three-under par 69 to edge out Zimbabwe’s Mark Williams, with Zander Lombard and overnight leader Bryce Bibby in a share of third place a further shot back.
“I was glad to have two putts in hand to give me the win,” Basson joked with friends afterwards, although his first attempt from 10 feet on the 18th went very close, and he was left with a tap-in for the win.
“I wasn’t at all relaxed going down the stretch,” he said. “I started the day very nervous on the first three holes, and then I kind of got into the groove. But for the last three holes, the nerves came back.”
He was paired with Bibby, who had carded a superlative 64 in the second round, but who battled to repeat that kind of scoring in the cauldron of the final group. “I just didn’t trust myself on some shots,” said Bibby, and that was nowhere more evident than on the par-five 16th, where he pushed his tee shot way right. The bogey there cost him any chance of a fast finish which might have caused Basson to stumble.
Instead, the 33-year-old who plays out of King David Golf Club in Cape Town, was able to play sensible golf and get the job done with the minimum of fuss.
“I just tried to play percentage golf, not make bogeys and let the birdies take care of themselves,” he said. “I’m not that aggressive a player by nature anyway, and I didn’t think I had to go lights out to have a chance of winning. I could see Bryce was also nervous, so I think my experience came into play. I could see he didn’t want to chase things and then let things blow up in the end.”
The victory was the fourth in Basson’s Sunshine Tour career, and it moved him inside the top 50 on the Order of Merit, with the R103,025 cheque for the win his biggest payday this season. It also took him to 10th in the 2016 Chase to the Investec Cup.
Lombard’s share of third saw him extend his lead in the Rookie of the Year standings.