5th November 2015 | Sunshine Tour
Sweet victory for Ruan
“This win means a lot. I knew that I was able to win, but to do it just before we head into the big events of summer is a huge confidence boost. I feel like I’ve proved something to myself, especially because it’s been a few years since my breakthrough win,” he said.
The 26-year-old from Krugersdorp had to overcome Jean Hugo and Andrew Curlewis in a sudden-death showdown after all three players finished the tournament on nine-under-par.
De Smidt was up to the task and made an eagle on the first extra trip down the 18th to claim his second victory on the Sunshine Tour.
“On 18 I got lucky with my tee shot and had a nice gap to play through to the green. I couldn’t see the flag, but knew that a little draw would be good. My approached pitched perfect and finished perfect, so I can’t complain about that. With my first putt I was trying to lag the ball up to hole, but luckily it dropped,” he said.
The 2012 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School winner had earlier posted 67 to finish the week on nine-under-par, which was the leading clubhouse total.
Curlewis scrambled a par at the last to end regulation play tied for the lead and after that Hugo, who was one match back, made birdie there to join the tie at the top. Repeat trips down the 18th would determine the winner.
De Smidt, with his brother on the bag, eagled the first extra hole to secure the victory and a cool R126,800, thereby rising to 37th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
“My brother has caddied for me a couple of times and I’ve played well, but we couldn’t finish off the task. It’s very special for me to win with him on the bag – we’re brothers and best friends,” he said.