1st November 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Brown banks maiden IGT title in Germiston
(PHOTO – Luke Brown with Eugene Liebenberg from Germiston Golf Club; CJ du Plooy)
GERMISTON, 1 November 2017 – It was touch and go towards the finish line, but Sandton amateur Luke Brown completed a wire-to-wire victory in fourth Race to Q-School at Germiston Golf Club for his maiden win on the IGT Challenge Tour on Wednesday.
It was definitely a week to savour for the 19-year-old, who became the sixth amateur to triumph on the country’s premier golf development circuit this season.
Playing the course blind in the first round, Brown laid the groundwork for his breakthrough with the lowest round of his career – a nine-under-par 63. He opened up a five shot lead on the field and maintained his advantage with a 69 in round two.
Brown was two under for the round after back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 holes when a little lapse in concentration cost him four shots in a row, but an expensive 74 nevertheless got the job done.
“It was definitely a lot more work than I bargained for, but I’m absolutely stoked with the result,” said Brown after he edged out South Africa’s number one ranked amateur Kyle McClatchie by one stroke on a winning total of 10 under 206.
“The first hole is a tough opening hole, but I was quite calm on the tee compared to the nerves I felt at the start of second round. Unfortunately my tee shot caught a bad bounce in the fairway and finished behind a tree in the rough.
“After the bogey start, I made three solid pars and I birdied five to get back the round back to level par. I played solid from there right up until the birdies at 13 and 14.”
McClatchie was six off the pace at the start of the final round and trailed by seven at the turn.
After birdies at 13 and 14, Brown dropped shots at 15 and 16 while McClatchie eagled the par five 16th to close the gap to three strokes. The reigning English Mens Amateur champion made pars at the final two holes for a third successive 69 and set the clubhouse target at nine under 207.
“I lost focus at 15 and three-putted the hole,” said the Country Club Johannesburg golfer.
“At 16, I had 150 metres to the pin and I got a flyer and ended up with my ball stuck up a tree behind the green. I had to take an unplayable and walked off with another bogey.
“My tee shot went into the bunker at 17 and I didn’t hit a good trap shot and left myself 60 metres short of the flag. When I stood on the 18th tee, I knew I had two shots in hand. That calmed the nerves a bit, especially after I missed the green and I couldn’t up and down for par.
“I learned a lot playing the IGT Challenge Tour this season and I used all of that experience this week, but I am still going away with even more valuable lessons. It was a week of firsts for me. First time that I shot 63, first time that I led a tournament and the first time that I played to win.
“It’s definitely true what they say; you have to learn how to handle the pressure in the front. There was some scary moments out there, but I am proud of the way I played the first 50 holes and I believe I’ll do a lot better the next time I am in this situation.”