16th June 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Thimba staves off Kruger for Maheking Pro-Am title

MafekingProAM2014Day3 (163)(Photos – Toto Thimba; credit CJ du Plooy)

MAHEKING, 16 June 2014 – Toto Thimba put the seal on a magnificent performance at the IGT Tour’s Maheking Pro-Am with an eagle at the 18th to clinch the R200,000 event, sponsored by North West Parks and Tourism Board, by one shot on Monday.

The final round produced a patented Pieter Kruger charge, but this time it was too little, too late.

Kruger reeled in two eagles and three birdies over first 12 holes at Leopard Park Golf Club, but Timba wiped out three bogeys with birdies at the second, 11th and 16th before he knocked in a seven-footer for eagle at the final hole.

Kruger finished with a 69, but Thimba’s two-under-par 70 guaranteed victory on 11-under-par 205.

What a week it was for the 28-year-old from Silver Lakes.

The victory marked his third pro title, but the R50,000 first place cheque more than doubled his earnings from two wins on the Sunshine Tour’s Big Easy Tour.

“This was a huge pay day for me,” gushed Thimba “This victory is all down to what I learned from watching Adilson da Silva when I played with him in the final round of the Zambia Sugar Open.

“I applied everything I learned and it paid off.”

Thimba was five shots off the pace after an opening 70, but raced to the lead with a flawless 65 on Sunday to take the lead by one shot from Kruger.

Just three months ago he was in the same position, but lost the IGT Series ERMP in a play-off to fellow Sunshine Tour regular Okkie Strydom. Da Silva’s master class at Lusaka Golf Club gave Thimba a lot of food for thought.

“I played very aggressively and that caused me to drop a lot of shots,” Thimba explained. “Adilson plays percentage golf and the birdies just follow, so I just let it flow this week. I just played tee to green without trying to get clever or aggressive. And I kept my cool if I dropped a shot. Just staying calm and keeping to the game plan worked like a dream. I feel very confident about my game now and I know I’m going to start winning more events.”

Thimba applauded the North West Parks and Tourism Board for their continuous support event.

“This is the fourth year that North West Parks and Tourism Board sponsors the Maheking Open and it is one of the most popular tournaments on the IGT Tour circuit,” he said.

“We look forward to it, because of the prize money, but the amateurs and rookie pros also really enjoy it because it gives them a chance to test themselves against a strong field.

“It’s also a great event for development. I think there was 20 amateurs and 14 black players in the field this week. It’s really good for the black amateurs to see guys like myself, James Kamte, Thabang Simon and Ivan Mazibuko play and do well in an event like this, because it inspires them to keep going.”

FINAL RESULT

205 Toto Thimba 70 65 70

206 Pieter Kruger 69 68 69

208 Jaco Prinsloo 72 66 70

210 Ockert Strydom 70 70 70; DK Kim KOR 70 67 73

211 Hennie du Plessis (AMA) 70 74 67; Jerry Steyn 71 70 70; Alex Haindl 71 65 75

214 Jacques de Villiers 71 75 68; Michael Scholz 65 77 72; Duane Keun 74 67 73; Cliff Howes 70 69 75

215 Russel Franz 74 65 76

216 Hano van der Walt 75 71 70

217 Ivan Mazibuko 68 73 76

218 James Kamte 73 76 69

219 Rhys West 79 68 72; Maritz Wessels 72 75 72; Gert Myburgh 72 72 75; Danie van Niekerk (AMA) 78 71 70

220 Khaya Jika 77 71 72; Coert Groenewald 75 70 75; Thabang Simon 73 71 76; Willie Steyn 72 70 78; Mike Maile 76 75 69

221 Jeff Inglis ENG 73 73 75; Jonathan Waschefort 70 74 77; Antonio Rosado POR 76 73 72

222 Hilton Hughes (AMA) 76 72 74; Herman Minnie 73 75 74; Lean Boezaart 75 73 74; Willie Van der Merwe 72 73 77

223 Callum Mowat 75 72 76; Alwyn Vorster 76 71 76; Deon Bredenkamp 72 74 77; Makhetha Mazibuko 76 73 74; Conway Kunneke 76 74 73; Victor Nhlapho 76 74 73; Jason Diab (AMA) 78 74 71

224 Rae Mackie 72 76 76; Wayne Stroebel 75 74 75

225 JG Claassen 75 75 75

226 Aubrey Barnard 75 73 78; Werner Van Niekerk 76 72 78; TJ Bekker 72 76 78

227 Jacques Kruyswijk 73 76 78

228 Romano Saincic 72 77 79

229 Wayne du Toit 78 74 77

230 Wade Jacobs (AMA) 75 74 81; Niel Meyer (AMA) 79 71 80

231 Beyers Smith 80 72 79

232 David Lamprecht 76 78 78

233 Arno Bartholoma (AMA) 76 71 86

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