28th September 2019 | Sunshine Tour
He attributed his five-stroke win in the R1-million Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Humewood Golf Club partly to a freakish switch in wind during the final round on Saturday, but in truth Merrick Bremner had it sewn up long before that.
He made three consecutive birdies from 15 to 17 to move to 19-under-par as he went the full 54 holes without making a bogey, and he ended up leaving Ruan Conradie, Clinton Grobler and Sweden’s Jonathan Agren in a share of second despite superb final rounds from all three of them.
“When I was on 15, it was quite weird,” said Bremner. “It was supposed to be into the wind and it switched! God was smiling on me for some reason and so I hit two-iron and four-iron and two putted there.
“The tee was pushed up quite a bit on 16 so it was within reach with an iron. My tee shot was bad and a little bit right and I got lucky with the lie. I hit to about eight feet behind the hole and made that.
“And then on 17, the wind switched again and it played downwind which is unbelievable. I hit the two-iron of my life and hit a seven-iron to about 10 feet. I just missed the eagle putt and made birdie there, and that was it.”
It was his sixth career win on the Sunshine Tour, but only his first on a coastal course after second-place finishes at Langebaan in 2013 and at Fish River Sun in 2015.
“My first-ever South African Open was here at Humewood,” he said, “when Ernie Els won by a country mile in the end. I led the SA Open after three holes and then failed dismally. But I’m happy to get the win at a coastal course.”
Conradie’s was the best of three good rounds from the runners-up: He carded a superb nine-under 63, which included a double-bogey six on the 16th. “I hit my tee shot right while going for the green, and had to take an unplayable in some thick stuff,” he said. “I couldn’t get up and down from the greenside bunker after that.”
Rookie Clinton Grobler looked every inch a contender all week, and his closing 66 just underlined what he seems ready to do. Agren, who is very aware of his tendency to get down on himself, was well pleased with his final round of five-under 67, which matched his playing partner Bremner’s score, and was, equally, bogey-free.
“It was the first time ever for me that I was bogey-free in a tournament,” said Bremner. “I’m really pleased with how I performed this week – mentally, I was really good.
“This win means a lot. A lot has happened. I haven’t played the best golf of late and I made the switch back to my old clubs and that seemed to do the trick. I found some form this week and I hope it can continue in the weeks to come.
“The lead was too big to have too many emotions coming down 18. I would have had to throw it away, but it feels good to have this win.”
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