Ritchie claims inaugural Limpopo Championship

10th March 2019 | Sunshine Tour

Ritchie claims inaugural Limpopo Championship

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Ritchie claims inaugural Limpopo Championship

JC Ritchie made it two wins in two weeks when he won the inaugural Limpopo Championship on the first playoff hole at Euphoria Golf and Lifestyle Estate on Sunday.

He signed for seven-under-par 65 in regulation to get to 18-under in regulation play and despite playing well all week long, it took Ritchie a strong back nine performance to force himself into a two-man playoff with Steve Surry who played amazing golf in Limpopo. The victory goes with his win in the Team Championship with Jaco Prinsloo last week.

Having turned in 35, it didn’t look like Ritchie was in with a shout but four birdies and an eagle on the homeward stretch brought him back into it.

“It started off tough, very slow and it didn’t look like it was going anywhere,” said Ritchie of his final round of the first Limpopo Championship. “But, to turn on the fire on the back nine like I did means a lot more to me than people may think.

“After nine holes I had a good talking to myself. I had to do a bit of a game-change. In the beginning of the week all I wanted was just to hit greens, keep it in play and give myself chances but from the second round I saw guys were finding birdies out here so between yesterday and today I had to do something to start making birdies and today that back nine turned out good for me.”

With this tournament important to many players for all sorts of reasons – some playing to save their cards, others to get into the Tour Championship in two weeks’ time and others playing to improve their general standing on the Order of Merit – Ritchie also had something to play for.

“This win is huge for me,” he said, “not only for the win itself but my Order of Merit position. Going into Tour Champs, this win means so much to me and to have everyone here – my girlfriend and my friends, it was such a special event.”

He admits, however, that while he played himself, there were nervy moment especially on the last hole and the playoff hole.

“On the last hole of regulation, I was quite stressed,” he said, “I just told myself ‘just make contact’, I can fly the hazard, it’s not in play. I pulled it a little and it went a mile. I hit about 195 down the last hole, hit six-iron to about five foot. I was a little shaky over the putt and didn’t know where to hit it and it just lipped out.

“The second time around (in the play-off hole) I didn’t hit the tee shot as good. I had 230 to the flag and hit a four-iron to about three and a half foot. I feel like I have to feel sorry to Steve (Surry) because he played so solidly the whole week. He played beautifully today and did everything he could. He put up a brilliant challenge this week.”

This marks Ritchie’s third Order of Merit victory on Tour.

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