Jacques Kruyswijk only let the emotions show when he knew the Cape Town Open was his.
The 24-year-old shed a few tears on the 18th green of Royal Cape Golf Club on Sunday, waiting to sink a one-footer for his first win on the Sunshine Tour.
The Centurion local shot 70 in the final round to wrap up the R1.5-million tournament on 17 under par, two strokes clear of Justin Harding and defending champion Brandon Stone.
Kruyswijk has tasted defeat before, most notably to Jean Hugo at the Origins of Golf at Vaal de Grace in 2015. Hugo said that back nine was the toughest stretch he’s ever played to beat someone.
‘I’ve been working really hard towards this,’ said Kruyswijk. ‘But you never really know until that last putt falls. It’s surreal.
‘I just felt that it was my week. I’m proud to cap it off, because a lot of hard work went into this. I’ll take it day by day from here, I feel like it’s the start of big things.’
The victory comes with a cheque for more than R235,000 and a two-year exemption on the Sunshine Tour. It took four solid rounds to win at Royal Cape this week, with coastal breezes hampering the first three rounds.
A Saturday 67 in 35km/h wind was Kruyswijk’s best round, but his shot of the week came at the par-five 16th on Sunday.
He was 40 metres short, stuck in the long grass under some trees, and facing a bunker that protected half of his run-up to the green. There was no margin for error.
Kruyswijk pitched the ball onto the front fringe, it released on to the green and then took a right-to-left break and finished a club length away from the hole.
‘The shot on 16 was probably the best recovery shot I’ve hit in my life. That’s probably where I won the tournament,’ he said.
‘Justin (Harding) was playing unbelievable golf and pressing me all the way today. We were all square with three holes to go, so it was nice to pull it through.’
The young star thrives under pressure, but his emotions run high. He rose to the occasion on Sunday and beat world-class golfers for a maiden victory.
‘I’m a very emotional person. A lot of myself goes into my practice, into my preparation. If you put in a lot of hard work in … well, this is what it looks like, because it means a lot,’ he said with misty eyes.
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