Written by Stvcrew on 08 June 2018
Pretoria teenager Otto van Buynder staged a dramatic comeback to seal a sensational maiden victory on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour at Randpark Golf Club on Wednesday.
In just his second start on the new golf development circuit, Van Buynder led by six shots overnight, courtesy of an opening 11-under-par 61 and 70 in the second round at the Firestone Course.
Some thought it would be just a formality for him to win. Others thought the 19-year-old amateur would crumble under pressure.
Van Buynder did bend under the stress but, despite a very shaky front nine, he staved off a charging DK Kim to close out a two shot victory with a final round 73.
“I got it done thanks to three holes,” said the delighted HPC Golf Academy player, who beat the Korean by two shots on 12-under.
“I was nervous at the start of the round, especially after I bogeyed at two and three. A couple of guys made some early birdies and chipped away at my lead. I told myself it’s got to stop.”
Van Buynder stemmed the bleeding with a birdie at four, dropped another shot at five and recovered with another gain at six. “When I dropped at nine, DK closed in,” said the Blue Valley golfer.
“He had five birdies on the front nine and two more at 12 and 14 to cut my lead to one shot. So I had two choices: step it up or break under the pressure.
“I hit my tee shot at 10 left into threes. I had to punch out sideways and I ended up where the rest of the guys had hit their drives. I got on the green with my third and holed a six metre putt to save par. That was one of the key moments of the round.
“I made a good par at 12 and hit a solid drive down the 12th fairway. I had 235 metres to the pin and hit a four-iron in. I was facing a 15 metre downhill putt, but I drained it for eagle. Now the adrenaline was flowing.”
Van Buynder nearly holed out for another eagle at the par-five14th. He tidied up for birdie and made a solid par at the short hole, but another setback at 16 put Kim in the frame again.
“My second shot went right and I was pin-high right under the trees with some branches in the way,” said Van Buynder. “I clipped the branches and the ball dropped on the green and rolled all the way down into the water. I walked off with a seven on my card.
“With DK just one shot behind again, I needed another birdie and 17 saved the day. It was playing 195 metres and I hit a six-iron to 12 metres and holed that triple-breaker to go 12 under. Then I heard that DK dropped at the last for a 67, so I knew I had two putts to win.
“I didn’t do anything risky. I hit two-iron off the tee, two-iron into the green and two-putted for par and the win. This was without a doubt the biggest test in my career and to win wire-to-wire at this level is absolutely fantastic.”
Seasoned campaigner Neil Cheetham made an early run with back-to-back birdies at two and three and an eagle at the par-five fourth, but it was a bridge too far to cross. Cheetham had a another eagle on the back nine, but a final round 67 left him in third on nine under.
Paul Boshoff also got into the mix with birdies at three and four, but his challenge lost steam. Boshoff signed for a 70 to finish fourth on eight under.
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified; amateurs indicated as AMA
204 - Otto van Buynder AMA 61 70 73
206 - Dongkwan Kim (KOR) 73 66 67
207 - Neil Cheetham (ENG) 71 69 67
208 - Paul Boshoff 67 71 70
210 - Drikus van der Walt 68 72 70
211 - Antonio Costa (CHL) 71 69 71, Andrew Burmester 70 69 72
212 - Aneurin Gounden AMA 68 73 71
213 - Matthew Spacey 71 75 67, Slade Pickering AMA 69 73 71, Dylan Mostert 71 70 72, Hendrikus Stoop 71 70 72
214 - Michael Pfeifer 74 68 72
216 - Andrew Plint AMA 70 75 71, Dylan Kok 72 73 71, Armand van Dyk AMA 75 70 71, Jason Rossiter 71 73 72, Keegan Mclachlan AMA 71 72 73, Daniel Hammond 70 71 75, Benjamin Follett-Smith (ZIM) 70 67 79
217 - Ruan Groenewald 74 68 75
218 - Jason Roets 71 73 74
219 - Luke Brown 75 72 72, Jason Diab 76 70 73, Brett Liddle 75 69 75
220 - Gianni Pera AMA 73 72 75, Ruan Korb 74 71 75, Dwayne Basson 74 71 75, Gilson Filho (BRA) 76 68 76, Cameron Moralee 72 72 76
221 - Eric Nel 68 79 74, Tumelo Molloyi 74 72 75, PH McIntyre 73 70 78
222 - Teagan Moore 75 72 75
223 - Matthew Rushton 74 68 81, Peetie van der Merwe 71 71 81
226 - Jonathan Waschefort 74 73 79
227 - Leon Visser 75 72 80, Louis Botha 77 70 80
228 - Albert Visser 77 70 81
230 - Michael Kok 79 68 83
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the IGT Challenge Tour.
THE IGT CHALLENGE TOUR IN A NUTSHELL
The IGT Challenge Tour is the only developmental golf tour in South Africa that offers a series of events year-long that includes 54 & 72-hole tournaments with a 36-hole cut.
The IGT Challenge Tour provides players the opportunity to experience all aspects of life as a true touring golf professional with a schedule built around geographical series and different varieties of championship golf courses to subject our players to any type of course they may face at golf’s highest levels. The IGT Challenge Tour is operated by a knowledgeable staff who are PGA and R&A certified. As evidenced by the success of our alumni, The IGT Challenge Tour is the most proven avenue to the PGA Tours.
Starting in October 2010 and ongoing through today, the Tour has been taken to a plateau where it is no longer viewed as simply a training ground for the PGA Tour. The IGT Challenge Tour, puts a greater emphasis on strong community support, well-organized events and development, has helped more professionals acquire their PGA Tour cards than any other Tour in South Africa.
With professionalism, a focal point of this Tour, the golf community and corporate South Africa continues to be attracted to the high visibility and unique exposure opportunities presented by the IGT Challenge Tour.
Our goal, simply put, is to provide the best tournament conditions to prepare you to compete on golf’s highest levels, as countless IGT Tour members have done before.
IGT is proud to announce that in 2017 we become a proud partner of the Sunshine Tour and the official development tour for the Sunshine and Big Easy Tour.