Tyrone gets maiden pro win at Irene

The closing stretch got a bit wild, but Tyrone Ryan pulled it all back together with birdies on the closing two holes to win the Sunshine Big Easy Tour event at Irene Country Club.

He fired his second successive five-under-par 67 to pull off a two-stroke victory over Albert Pistorius and Attie Schwartzel, the brother of Masters champion Charl.

“I managed to chip in for birdie on 11 to get in front of Attie, but then I made double bogey at the 13th while he made birdie,” said Ryan.

“That was a three-shot swing, but I managed to get a birdie on 15, and then make two more on the last two holes,” he added.

Unfortunately for Schwartzel, who was in search for his first professional title – and what a celebration that would have been five days after his brother won a major – he bogeyed 14 and 15 and let Ryan back in.

Ryan’s heart was in his mouth going down the 18th, too, when he pushed his drive right into a row of tall old pine trees. “It bounced out into the middle of the fairway,” he said.

He had the perfect line in to the pin, and he hit his approach pin-high and 10 feet from the pin, and sank the putt to seal the R14,000 first prize in the second event of this new series designed to give young professionals tournament experience outside the pressure-cooker that is a Sunshine Tour event.

Players who received their cards at the Sunshine Tour 2011 Qualifying School played in Bloemfontein last year, and the top 30 at the Vusi Ngubeni Strokeplay played in Johannesburg in January are eligible to play on the tour, as are those who finished from 71st to 150th on the 2010 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.

Ryan’s victory took him ahead of Bryce Easton, the winner of the first event at Crown Mines Golf Club last month at the top of the Order of Merit.”

Schwartzel carded two 68s for his second place, while Pistorius added a 67 to his opening 69 to close into second place.

Jake Redman matched the five-under-par marks set by Ryan and Pistorius to finish in a share of seventh place, behind Derik Ferreira in fourth, with Coenie Stoop and Derick Petersen in a share of fifth.

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