14th September 2016 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Ferreira powers to victory in Ebotse Links Challenge
PHOTO – Tyrone Ferreira; credit CJ du Plooy)
BENONI, 14 September 2016 – Reading Country Club’s Tyrone Ferreira is ready for another fast finish on the Sunshine Tour after he clinched the IGT Tour’s Ebotse Links Challenge title after a tense and dramatic final round battle with local junior Jayden Schaper and Benoni rookie Lejan Lewthwaite at the Ebotse Links Golf and Country Estate.
Ferreira trailed Lewthwaite and the 15-year-old Schaper for most of the day, but he cut a determined figure as he raced to the finish line with a flush of four birdies.
The 29-year-old signed off with a 70 to seal a one stroke victory at four-under-par 212 over Schaper, who returned a 72, while Lewthwaite closed with 77 to finish at two under.
“I’m really pleased with the way I closed this one out, because it’s been a fairly long time since I took a trophy home,” Ferreira said.
“It was freezing this morning and I dropped shots at both par fives, but I redeemed myself on the back nine. I played the last seven holes beautifully and holed the putts that counted. I won twice early in my pro career, but the last few years were very frustrating. I started working with Gavan Levenson in March and we’ve seen some real improvement in the last two months. This week it felt like I was back in the groove. I’m hit the ball really well and I gave myself a lot of chances.
“A bunch of us entered the tournament to stay competitive and use the week as a warm-up for next week’s Sun Carnival City Pro-Am here at Ebotse, but now I’m doubly pleased that I played. The wind really tested us this week and competition was tough. Ebotse is one of my favourite courses in Gauteng and I feel ready for next week, so hopefully I’ll have a double celebration.”
Ferreira began the final round five off the pace from Lewthwaite and one shot behind Shaper and the status quo remained unchanged until Lewthwaite dropped three shots at 16 and 17.
“You have Lejan gunning to become the first female champion on the IGT Tour and Jayden challenging to become the youngest champion and you could feel the vibe building out there,” Ferreira said. “We all got swept up by the excitement and even I was rooting for them.”
Lewthwaite stayed ahead of the pack in spite of a pair of bogeys and a double bogey over the first 10 holes, and she kept control after birdies at 12 and 15, but a dropped shot at 16 and a double bogey at 17 put paid to her challenge.
“The pressure got to her at 16 and 17, but she showed great fighting spirit to finish with a birdie at the final hole,” Ferreira said. “She will learn a lot from those final holes and I wouldn’t be surprised if she wins one soon.
“Jayden’s composure at such a young age is impressive. Most guys would be stunned after two double bogeys, but he just stayed calm and in the moment. When we hit the back nine, he clawed his way back with four birdies to finish second. He is one to watch in the future.”