11th March 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Keun cashes in at TGSE Academy Classic

(Photo – Duane Keun and TGSE’s Michael Balderstone; credit CJ du Plooy)Hpark9-11Marday3 (125)

JOHANNESBURG, 11 March 2015 – Duane Keun held his nerve over the closing stretch at Huddle Park Golf Club to seal a maiden IGT Tour victory in the first TGSE Academy Classic on Wednesday.

Despite coming under pressure from overnight leader Michael Palmer and seasoned campaigner Conway Kunneke, the 27-year Ladybrandt professional fired a solid four-under-par 66 to beat the pair by three strokes on seven under 203.

The victory couldn’t have been scripted any better. In a fitting twist of fate, the first winner of the first TGSE Classic was also a graduate of the host academy.

“It has not sunk it yet; maybe after I’ve spoken to my family,” Keun gushed.

“I had a lot of great up-and-downs that got me out of trouble, and that was the key for me. I made a couple of great pars and got a few birdies on my card, but mostly I just stuck in there.”

Keun was a full-time IGT Tour campaigner last year and he finished the season ranked 20th on the IGT Tour money list and 15th in the Race to Q-School standings.

He made the trip to Bloemfontein at the end of January, survived the 54-hole cut to the final 60 and secured a card for this season’s Big Easy Tour with a 55 place finish in the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School.

Keun said he enjoys keeping sharp on the IGT Tour.

“Every time you tee it up, you learn something,” commented Keun. “One thing I’ve learned is that you have to come in with a winning attitude. I came here thinking about my tie for sixth at the Jeandre Fourie Classic two weeks ago. I know I can challenge and I am good enough to win, and those thoughts kept me going.”

Keun began the final round two off the pace from Palmer, who was chasing back-to-back titles after his maiden win at Ruimsig Country Club a fortnight ago.

He turned in two under after birdies at the first, sixth and seventh, and a string of three birdies from the 10th left him two strokes clear of the chasing pack.

“I guess the nerves got to me a little then, because I made back-to-back bogeys at the 14th and 15th, but luckily none of the guys behind me was making a move,” Keun said.

“I just tried to settle myself over the closing holes. I got one back with a solid 10-foot birdie at the 16th, and that swung the momentum again.”

Keun hit a good shot into the par-three 17th, but his ball hit a sprinkler head and ricocheted to the left of the green.

“I hit a really good chip to 12 foot and boxed the putt; my heart was beating a mile a minute by then and saving par there just gave me a little confidence boost for the last hole,” Keun admitted.

“I hit a really great drive straight down the middle at the 18th, got my approach on the green and two-putted for the win. It was unbelievable to realise that I’d finally done it; the monkey is off my back.”

Kunneke signed for a 69, while Palmer carded a 71 to share second on 206. Gary Player School of Champions player Jason Froneman closed with a 69 to finish a further stroke adrift.

TGSE’s Shaun van Tonder carded rounds of 69, 73 and 76 to tie for 22nd

FINAL RESULT

203 – Duane Keun 69 68 66

206 – Conway Kunneke 67 69 70, Michael Palmer 66 69 71

207 – Jason Froneman 71 67 69

208 – TJ Bekker 70 70 68, Simon Kruger AMA 73 65 70, Herman Minnie 67 70 71, Danie Pretorius 67 70 71

209 – Hilton Hughes AMA 70 69 70

210 – Johan Van Der Wath AMA 71 68 71

211 – Bryn Flanagan 72 65 74

212 – CJ Levey AMA 74 67 71, David Ashley AMA 69 67 76

213 – Michael Van Hoeck AMA (BEL) 73 69 71, Niel Meyer 67 74 72

214 – Matthew Vogel 73 72 69, Justin Levy (NLD) 70 72 72

215 – Gideon Pienaar 74 70 71

217 – Dougie Meijer 71 73 73, Ruan Korb AMA 70 71 76, Stephan Erasmus AMA 70 70 77

218 – Lourens Du Plessis 76 71 71, Shaun van Tonder 69 73 76, Bartjie De Klerk AMA 72 69 77, Devan Payne AMA 64 73 81

219 – Duan Nagel AMA 75 71 73, Christiaan Pretorius 76 66 77, Christian Olivier AMA 70 71 78

220 – Matthew Adams AMA 75 72 73, Carlos Arroyo AMA 71 74 75, Shane Heckler AMA 77 68 75

221 – Kyle Lee 67 77 77

222 – Michael Kok AMA 71 74 77, Christopher De Beer AMA 73 70 79, Joubert Van Eeden AMA 74 69 79

223 – Wayne Stroebel 71 74 78

225 – Jason Ackerman AMA 78 69 78, Michael Armstrong AMA 73 73 79

226 – Zander Potgieter AMA 75 72 79

233 – David Lamprecht 71 76 86

Latest Big Easy IGT Golf News