29th September 2016 | Big Easy IGT Golf
O’Riley romps to five shot win in Killarney Challenge
JOHANNESBURG, 28 September 2016 – Ebotse pro Dean O’Riley captured the IGT Tour’s Killarney Challenge in swashbuckling style to cap a brilliant week at Killarney Country Club on Thursday.
Having gained a one shot advantage with a four-under-par 66 in the third round, the 27-year-old from Benoni continued in the same vein in the final round, showing no sign of nerves to post a joint best-of-the-day one under 69.
With a 72-hole total of four-under-par 276, O’Riley finished five shots clear of second placed Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland and Simon Kruger, who closed with respective rounds of 69 and 70.
Duane Keun returned a 74 to take fourth at two over 282, while rookie Matthew Spacey wound up a further shot back in fifth after posting a final round 73.
This victory was O’Riley’s first win since the fifth Race to Q-School in November last year.
Unfortunately, the former top ranked amateur didn’t make it to the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School in December, but he is determined to get the job done next March.
“I played the IGT Tour at the start of the season, but then I took off a couple of months off mid-year to work on swing changes,” said O’Riley, who re-joined the IGT Tour at the Ebotse Challenge in August.
“I was really buoyed after I tied for fourth at the Ebotse Links and I had high expectations coming into this week. Opening with a four over 74 was really frustrating, but I pushed the negativity aside and regrouped for the rest of the week.
“The second round 67 and the 66 in round three was a much better reflection of the stuff I’ve been working on. I’m hitting the ball really well, especially my irons, and the putter is slowly but surely getting there, too.
“The pin positions in the final round were extremely tough and it was a par-golf day. I managed to box two five-footers early on at the second and third for birdies, but I still hit a few loose shots out there, like the big pull I hit at the seventh that landed me in the hazard.
“I had to drop under some trees and I hit a flier that went through the fairway and finished under more trees. It was a messy hole that cost me two shots and that opened the door for Duane and some of the other guys.
“When nobody pounced, I just made sure to play for pars. I drained a 15-footer at 11 for another birdie, which felt like an eagle because I haven’t holed a lot of putts that distance this week. Gave one back at 13, but hit it just short at the par five (15) and made a good up-and-down for birdie. Once I was five clear, the pressure also lifted and made playing the last couple of holes a lot of fun.”
After pocketing the R8,000 first prize, O’Riley said he hopes to ride his current vein of form to more success on the country’s premier development circuit in the next few weeks.
“We kick of the Race to Q-School series next week at ERPM and we play State Mines in two weeks, which were both home courses for me, so hopefully I a couple more trophies to the cabinet.”
Dlamini – back from crossing the first hurdle at the LPGA Tour Qualifying School in the United States – birdied three of the last four holes to share the low round honours with O’Riley, Michael Schutz and amateur Ruhan van Dijk.