1st January 2014 | Sunshine Tour

Kamte powers to playoff victory in BMG Classic

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James Kamte won his fourth Sunshine Tour title on Sunday when he sank a 10-foot birdie putt to win the R600,000 BMG Classic in a sudden-death playoff with Dawie van der Walt.

The pair finished level on none-under-par 207 after 54 holes, giving them a one-stroke edge over Shaun Norris in third. He won the playoff on the first hole with an intimidating 320-metre drive which made the 90-metre approach he was left a simple affair.

¬?That¬?s what you¬?ve got to do in a playoff,¬? he said afterwards. ¬?Smoke it and don¬?t even look after it ¬? just bend down and pick up your tee and walk.¬?

He was contesting the playoff on the back of a superlative eight-under-par 64 for his final round, a bogey-free round which took an extraordinary nine-under 63 from Van der Walt to haul him in.

¬?I could have made birdie on every hole on the final nine,¬? said Kamte, ¬?I was hitting it so well. But I said before the tournament started that I wanted to win it.¬?

The victory ended a drought for the 29-year-old Kamte, who last won a significant event on his Asian Tour debut in the 2009 Asian Tour International.

¬?I¬?ve been battling injury for a long time,¬? said Kamte who hurt his knee and his wrist in a surfing accident in Thailand with Anton Haig and Pablo Larrazabal soon after his victory.

¬?I really just had to give it time, and that was very difficult to do,¬? he said.

And the relief as he sank the putt to win the playoff was palpable as he let out a yell of triumph as it went in the hole and covered his face as he wept with relief.

¬?There was such a lot going through my head,¬? said Kamte. ¬?It¬?s hard to know you can win and not to be able to do so, so this was really a huge weight off my shoulders.¬?

He didn¬?t seem to be a contender after the opening two rounds in which he ground his way to a 72 and a 71, but his final round ignited as he made three birdies in a row ahead of the turn, and then again from 11 to 13.

But Van der Walt was stalking him after the big 28-year-old who is trying to break into the US circuit pulled himself together in the wake of a poor second round 78.

¬?That hurt me,¬? admitted Van der Walt. Many players would have thrown in the towel after that, but the 1.98-metre gentle giant turned in three-under 33 and then raced for home. He made six more birdies, and narrowly missed a 15-footer for birdie on his final regulation hole which would have given him the lead.

In the end, Kamte¬?s show of strength off the playoff tee was decisive ¬? he had a 20-metre edge over Van der Walt on the fairway, and a 25-footer for birdie for Van der Walt was a bridge too far.

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