Alex Haindl claimed his fourth victory on the Sunshine Tour when he won the SunBet Challenge hosted by Sun City at the Gary Player Country Club on Friday.
Haindl took a two-stroke lead into the final round of a tournament he led from day one, and held on to win by a single stroke over Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya and Jaco Ahlers on seven under par, closing with a 73.
“I’m delighted. I kind of came into the week with a bit of a mission to at least have a top three finish. I’m very happy to have won, especially on a golf course like this one,” said Haindl.
But it took all of his resolve to do so. After a strong start where Haindl birdied three of his first four holes, the Bloemfontein golfer bogeyed the tough eighth hole and then hit it in the water on the par-five ninth on his way to a double bogey that handed Muthiya the lead.
“I had a great start, but to be honest I didn’t get too excited because I’ve played golf way too often to know that on a course like this one, somewhere something is going to happen,” said Haindl.
“On the ninth I laid up but I was in the semi-rough, and I don’t know if I had a mud ball or something but my third shot came out absolutely horrible and went straight into the water. It didn’t bother me that Madalitso was leading going into the back nine though, because again, I just know this game and this course.”
Muthiya birdied the 10th but then ran into trouble of his own with a double bogey and bogey in his next two holes that again opened the door for Haindl.
“I just tried to keep it solid on the back nine. It was playing tough and the pins were extremely tricky, so I just tried to keep things simple. Any win is nice, but a win on this golf course, which I’ve never really felt suits my game, makes it a lot more special.” – Michael Vlismas
Photo: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour