28th June 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Bright strikes with six of the best
(PHOTO – Matt Bright; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 28 June 2017 – Matt Bright celebrated a stylish maiden win on the IGT Challenge Tour with a wire-to-wire victory in the Woodhill Challenge on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old Pretoria native closed with a solid one-under-par 71 to triumph by six shots on 12 under 203 from Sunshine Tour winner Merrick Bremner and Stefan Engell Anderson from Kenya at Woodhill Country Club.
Having taken a month to work on his game, Bright was over the moon with the result.
“This is a great feeling,” said the youthful chief executive of SteelStuff. “I came into this week feeling very positive and I’m so pleased that all the hard work paid off. This is a solid step forward in where I want to take my game. I haven’t won in a very long while, so it’s good to know that I still have what it takes. It’s also really satisfying that I put myself in contention from the start and I saw it through to the finish line.”
Bright set the bar quite high with a flawless eight-under-par 64 in the first round and stretched his two shot overnight lead to five strokes with a 68 in the second round.
“I was really focused and my goal was to go out there and make every shot count,” he said. “Then I bogeyed the first and Merrick made birdie and the lead was cut to two.
“But I settled down quickly and had the lead back to four shots by the time we reached the turn. When Merrick three-putted the 10th and I made a birdie at 11, I knew I was in good shape with six shots in hand and six holes to play.”
Bright dropped successive shots at 13 and 14, but immediately rallied with back-to-back birdies.
“Both bogeys were soft drops,” he said. “I had to punch out from under a tree at 13. My approach went over the green and I didn’t up-and-down to save par. At 14, I three-putted from just off the green, but I hit two great tee shots at 15 and 16 to go birdie-birdie.
“I had a seven shot lead playing 17 and there was no real pressure to speak of. Got a little unlucky after I hit a really good tee shot and the ball kicked into the hazard. I ended up dropping another shot, but another good tee shot at 18 gave me the chance to finish up with a birdie.”
Bright said there was a lot of positives to take out of this week’s performance.
“My ball striking was great and so was my short game,” said Bright. “You’re always going to have a bad shot or two out there, but I was able to keep it in play, give myself chances and covert for birdies.
“I am really pleased with the state of my game and it’s a great feeling to have the monkey off my back. Having that maiden win under the belt just makes you keen to go onwards and upwards from here.”