14th May 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Korea’s Park hits a winning note at ERPM

ERPM12-14MayDay3 (100)(Photo – Hyun Park; credit CJ du Plooy)

BOKSBURG, 14 May 2014 – Korea’s Hyun Park celebrated his maiden pro win in sensational fashion when he reeled in a flock of birds over the last five holes at ERPM Golf Club to claim the IGT Tour’s second Race to the USA on Wednesday.

The overnight leader drew level at six under par with Englishman Mike Downes through 13 holes.

An ace at the par-three 14th spurred a birdie-eagle-birdie finish, though, and the 22-year-old signed for a 66 and a runaway six-stroke victory on 11-under-par 205.

South Africa’s Herman Minnie carded a 70 to share the runner-up spot with Downes, who beat Park’s score by two strokes to claim the low round of the day.

Park, who won twice in top amateur events in his native Seoul, savoured his first success in the paid ranks.

“I was quite nervous at the start of the round,” Park admitted. “I didn’t think about winning, but after I made the hole-in-one, I began to believe I could win.

“I just told myself to stay calm and to stay in the moment. I’m so very happy to have this victory.”

Park has been campaigning on the country’s premier development Tour since November last year, when he arrived in South Africa to prepare for the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School.

The podium finish follows a top 10, two top sixes and two runner-up finishes in his last five starts.

“One goal this year was to finish in the top 10 in half my starts on the IGT Tour,” he said. “Another was to try and win twice. It is going very, very well, so far, I think.”

Park reeled in birdies at the second and third, but gave one back at the par-three fifth. He parred his way to the turn and was six under after dropping another shot at the par-five 12th.

Downes, meanwhile, breakthrough in the pro ranks follows

Downes birdied the second and sixth to dip to one over, but a birdie at the par-four ninth ignited a seven birdie run that ran to ground with a par at the 16th.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Downes after sealing his third runner-up finish in five starts.

“I just got going and every putt I looked at dropped. I kind of thought I would have to shoot 10 under to have half a chance of catching Hyun, so it’s great to know that I got close.”

Downes also travelled to South Africa for a shot at gaining a Sunshine Tour card.

Like Park, he decided to campaign on the IGT Tour and based himself at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington.  “The guys at RJK have been incredibly good to me,” he said.

“I enjoy the competitive environment on the IGT Tour, the wide variety of players you line up against and the chance to work through the processes. And the weather is fantastic, too.”

FINAL RESULT

205 – Hyun Park KOR 72 66 67

211 – Mike Downes ENG 71 76 64, Herman Minnie 72 69 70

213 – Lean Boezaart 70 71 72

214 – Keegan Steyn (AMA) 73 70 71

216 – Brett Liddle 71 74 71

217 – Ted Hendriks 73 74 70

218 – Christiaan Pretorius 74 73 71, Andi Dill (AMA) 73 72 73, Russel Franz (AMA) 74 69 75

219 – Rae Mackie 73 76 70, Bryandrew Roelofsz 71 73 75

222 – Conway Kunneke 73 75 74, Hano van der Walt 75 75 72

223 – Werner Van Niekerk 73 77 73, Alwyn Vorster 68 80 75

224 – Johan Theron 73 75 76, Stephan Erasmus (AMA) 74 76 74, Justin Levy 71 77 76, Antonio Rosado POR 76 76 72, Jongikyaya Jika 80 72 72

225 – Wayne Stroebel 72 77 76, Fouche Botha (AMA) 76 72 77, Terence Boardman 77 74 74, Gareth Akers (AMA) 78 74 73, Niel Meyer (AMA) 76 71 78, Juran Dreyer (AMA) 75 72 78

226 – Mohit Mediratta KEN (AMA) 75 76 75

227 – Stephan De Beer (AMA) 80 74 73

228 – Romano Saincic 76 73 79, Otto van Greunen 79 73 76, Byron Garvie 76 78 74

229 – Michael Van Hoeck (AMA) 73 79 77, Rob Menzies ENG 81 74 74

230 – Tom Watson (AMA) 76 73 81, Shaun van Tonder 71 79 80

231 – Arno Bartholoma (AMA) 74 75 82, Slade Fick (AMA) 73 79 79, JC van Dommelen 70 83 78

232 – Nico Du Buisson (AMA) 77 78 77

233 – Ryan Wingrove (AMA) 78 77 78

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