27th May 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Play-off delight for Du Plessis at Irene

Irene25-27MayDay3 (157)(PHOTO – Hennie du Plessis; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE (27 May 2015) – Hennie du Plessis claimed the biggest victory of his burgeoning career in wire-to-wire fashion, but the Limpopo teenager had to stage a dramatic fight back to tie Bryandrew Roelofsz in the GFG Academy Classic and claim his maiden IGT Tour title in a play-off at Irene Country Club on Wednesday.

The pair finished at 13-under-par 203 at the end of regulation play after Roelofsz mixed eight birdies with a bogey for a seven under 65 and Du Plessis clawed his way to a closing 70 after a triple bogey at the par-five ninth hole nearly derailed his title hunt

The players headed back to the par-four first for the sudden-death play-off.

Both players were on the green for two, but Roelofsz left his approach six feet short of the pin while Du Plessis parked a lob-wedge from 75 meters barely two inches from the hole.

Roelofsz left his birdie putt short and Du Plessis sealed the victory with a tap-in birdie.

“It was touch and go out there, but this time I just really wanted to win,” said the 18-year-old Sesambos golfer.

“I believe that resolve carried me through the ups-and-downs to the winner’s circle.”

The GFG Academy player made his IGT Tour debut in the Race to the USA at Irene Country Club in March last year.

“I tied for 24th and I remember walking off the golf course and wondering if I would ever be ready to beat the professionals,” he said.

“Ten months later I won the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School. I think that’s why I was extra determined to win here at Irene and winning my own academy’s tournament makes this an extra special victory for me.

“Drew has won twice this season already, so I’m sure he won’t mind ‘giving’ me this one!”

Du Plessis carried a two shot lead into the final round and added to his tally with back-to-back birdies at six and seven, but ran into trouble just before the turn.

“I guess I must have lost focus for a minute,” he said. “I hit a good tee shot, but drove my second out of bounds. I eventually got on the green and two-putted for an eight. At the 10th, I drove it right and had to lay up, but I chipped in for eagle and that gave my round some momentum.”

Playing the 11th hole with the wind in his back, Du Plessis over-clubbed and finished with a bogey, but he mailed a seven-iron to give at the par-three 14th and tapped in for birdie to stem the bleeding.

He two-putted for birdie at the par-five 17th to tie Roelofsz and made a great up-and-down for par at 18 to force the play-off.

“It took me a while to find my feet on the Sunshine Tour, but the last couple of weeks have been really good,” said Du Plessis.

“I made the cut in both tournaments in Zambia and tied for second in the IGT Tour’s Autumn Swing Challenge at ERPM. I had another top 10 in the CA Academy Classic last week and I tied the course record at Centurion Country Club on Sunday.

“It felt like I was edging towards a win and when I put myself in a good position with that 65 in the first round, I just wanted to finish it off.

“It’s great to come back to the IGT Tour to keep the game sharp and to stay focussed. We have the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Langebaan coming up, so this breakthrough comes just at the right time.”

Amateur Chris van Tonder fired a 66, Mark Williams and Christiaan Bezuidenhout returned 67s and Toto Thimba Jnr carded a 70 to tie for third on 11 under 205.

FINAL RESULT

203 – Hennie Du Plessis 65 68 70

203 – Bryandrew Roelofsz 71 67 65

205 – Chris van Tonder (AMA) 70 69 66, Mark Williams 74 64 67, Christiaan Bezuidenhout 67 71 67, Toto Thimba Jnr 67 68 70

208 – Louis Calitz 72 69 67, Francois Coetzee 67 68 73

209 – CJ Levey (AMA) 67 73 69, Bartjie de Klerk (AMA) 69 69 71

212 – Andi Dill (AMA) 70 72 70, Stephan Erasmus (AMA) 70 70 72

213 – Ryan Cairns (ZIM) 70 73 70, Drikus Bruyns 72 71 70, Danie Pretorius 70 72 71, Eddie Taylor 73 69 71

214 – Tyron McComb 72 72 70, Ryan Wingrove (AMA) 69 71 74, Louis Taylor (AMA) 72 67 75

215 – Tyrone Ryan 75 72 68, Juran Dreyer (AMA) 77 68 70

216 – Christiaan Pretorius 73 71 72

217 – David Ashley (AMA) 72 74 71, David Lamprecht 68 76 73

218 – Norman Beggs 78 69 71, Divan Marais (AMA) 74 72 72, Herman Minnie 76 71 71, Jandre Fullard (AMA) 72 74 72

219 – Matthew Vogel 71 76 72

220 – Dylan Docherty (AMA) 71 75 74, Peetie Van Der Merwe (AMA) 72 72 76

221 – Joubert Van Eeden (AMA) 71 75 75, Michael Schutz (AMA) 75 76 70

223 – Marco De Beer (AMA) 68 78 77, Rhoan Gardiner 74 76 73, Siphiwe Siphayi (AMA) 80 70 73

224 – Patrick Thompson 75 72 77, Wim Grobler 74 74 76, Brendan Britten (NAM) 76 75 73

225 – Wayne Stroebel 74 73 78, Jacques Swarts (AMA) 73 75 77, Slade Fick (AMA) 75 74 76, Shane Heckler (AMA) 71 79 75

226 – Michael Van Hoeck (AMA) BEL 77 70 79, Terence Boardman 79 71 76

227 – Armand Azar (AMA) 72 76 79, Owen Grobler 77 76 74, Carlos Arroyo (AMA) 79 76 72

228 – Vincent Mienie (AMA) 75 75 78, Francois van Rensburg (AMA) 74 76 78

230 – JP Schmidt (AMA) 74 79 77, Albert Visser (AMA) 79 75 76

231 – Wesley Baptiste (AMA) 76 77 78

232 – Quintin Crause (AMA) 77 76 79

234 – Paul Cuningham 78 73 83, Amerigo Renieri (AMA) 77 75 82, Gerard Du Plooy 79 75 80

238 – Waldi Potgieter (AMA) 74 79 85

240 – Duan Nagel (AMA) 77 78 85

WDN – Matt Bright (AMA) 74 80 WDN

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