27th July 2016 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Eagle sees Strydom soar at Irene Challenge

IreneChallenge_TristenStrydom_Papers(PHOTO – Tristen Strydom; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE, 27 July 2016 – A superb eagle helped former SA number one amateur Tristen Strydom to deny professional Terence Boardman a second IGT Tour victory this season and celebrate a welcome return to the winner’s circle in the Irene Challenge on Wednesday.

The Pretoria native eagled the par five 17th and parred the final hole at Irene Country Club for one over 73 to tie Boardman at seven-under par 209 at the end of regulation play.

The two players squared the first hole in pars and eighth hole in birdies, Strydom thrilled the crowd by rolling in a four-foot birdie putt at the ninth to settle matters at the third sudden-death hole.

The pair shared the first round lead with matching 69s, but Strydom began the final round with a two shot lead after posting a second round 67.

The Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate golfer made an impressive start to the final round when he rocked home birdie putts at the first and second holes to pull two shots clear of his pursuers, but he squandered five shots midway through the round.

“It was just one of those days where the putts didn’t drop and one or two wayward drives led to some bogeys,” Strydom said. “I kept my composure and stayed focussed, but I knew I needed a change in fortune down the home stretch.

“I had to make the most of the par five (17), because I knew I could get on the green for two with my distance, but it would need two really good shots. I hit driver down the middle of the fairway and I had 168 metres to the pin. I hit an eight-iron and it came out perfectly. It landed five feet from the hole and I boxed the putt for eagle.”

Strydom was back in pole position at seven under, while fellow amateur Kyle McClatchie emerged from the crowded leaderboard to move to six under with a birdie at 16. Boardman joined the amateur at six under after birdies at 15 and 17.

“Kyle finished with two pars, so it was down to Terence and I on the final hole,” Strydom said. “I hit my approach pin-high left at 18 and chipped it close, but I missed the birdie putt. Terence knocked home his birdie putt, so it was play-off time. The eagle definitely came at the right time. It gave me an injection of confidence and the kick I needed to take him on in extra time.

“I missed a four-footer for birdie to win at the first, and we were both on the green for two at the eighth. I had an eight-footer for birdie and Terence had about 12 feet to the pin and we both made our putts.”

At the ninth, Strydom hit driver down the middle and Boardman pushed his tee shot left under the trees. Boardman punched out to about 70 metres short of the green and hit his third shot to 18 feet, while Strydom’s approach finished pin high right of the green.

“I chipped to four feet, Terence missed the birdie putt and I knocked mine in for the win,” said Strydom, who claimed a maiden victory on the country’s premier development Tour late in 2014.

“It feels really great to hold a trophy again. I definitely believe I benefited greatly from the Golf RSA National Squad camp this past weekend, because I never got impatient and I just kept grinding. I think I turned a huge mental corner today and it will serve me well going forward.

“I’m really glad I could pull this through for my parents and my coach, Grant Hepburn, because they never lost faith in me when I started doubting myself. It’s good to be back and to feel that passion to win burning strong again.”

 

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