Jaco Prinsloo has the feeling that 2017 is going to get a lot more interesting after he sandwiched New Year between back-to-back victories on the IGT Challenge Tour on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old won the final Race to Q-School series event of the 2016 season in December and kicked off the new season with another R10 000 pay-day in the 12th Race to Q-School at Randpark Golf Club.
Prinsloo banked his seventh title on the country’s premier golf development circuit courtesy of a five-stroke victory over Jacopo Vecchi Fossa from Italy, Pretoria amateur Albert Venter and Bryce McCabe from Glendower.
The Sunshine Tour campaigner closed with a two-under-par 70 to finish on 13 under. With the Sunshine Tour’s Eye of Africa PGA Championship just three weeks away, it’s not surprising that Prinsloo walked off the 18th with a beaming smile.
‘I took a bit of time off and took the family to Balito over Christmas, but I started practicing just as soon as we got back before New Year,’ he said.
‘I was absolutely gutted when I missed the cut for the SA Open by one shot at the Kempton Park Qualifier. I’d played solidly, but I messed it up at the last hole. I was so disappointed and all I wanted to do was come out here this week and win.
‘It’s a really great feeling to accomplish that kind of goal. Every time you win that little lift gives you a boost of confidence into the next tournament. I’m striking the ball really well and I am putting well, so the game is in a great spot. I just need to polish a couple of things and keep the game at this level for the Eye of Africa.’
Prinsloo mixed four birdies with a pair of bogeys for his 70, which he admits, was the only small disappointment of the day.
‘I’ve been shooting a lot of 70s or 71s in final rounds, so I was pushing to break 70 today, but the two soft bogeys got in the way,” said the GFG Academy player.
‘Unfortunately I was dead behind a tree at seven. I had to punch out and limit the damage to a bogey and at 11, I caught a really bad lie just off the rough. Two poor tee shots, two soft bogeys. These things happen and the most important part of that problem is not to let it upset your round. I finished with seven straight pars, so I’ll take the 70. Hopefully I can push into the sixties in the next one.’
Venter reeled in five birdies on the back nine, including a flurry of three from the 15th, for a 66 and a tie for second in his pro debut, while Fossa and McCabe returned respective rounds of 67 and 68 to join the rookie at eight under.
By Lali Stander
Final round results
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as AMA.
203 – Jaco Prinsloo 67 66 70
208 – Albert Venter AMA 72 70 66, Jacopo Vecchi Fossa (ITA) 74 67 67, Bryce McCabe 71 69 68
210 – NJ Arnoldi 72 68 70
211 – Sipho Bujela 67 75 69, Stephan Erasmus AMA 72 70 69, Ruan Conradie 68 68 75
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