14th April 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
Cool-hand Conradie doubles up on IGT Tour
TSHWANE, 13 April 2016 – Former European Tour winner Anton Haig, first round leader Teagan Moore and rookie pro Matthew Spacey piled on the pressure in the final round of the Centurion Challenge, but the trio couldn’t stop Pretoria amateur Estiaan Conradie from a second IGT Tour victory on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old Wingate golfer buckled a little, but persisted to post a two under 70 at Centurion Country Club for a three stroke victory on 13-under-par 203.
Haig, who started the final round five off the pace, closed with a 68, Spacey returned a 69 and Moore registered a 70 to share second on 10 under.
Conradie broke through for a maiden title on the country’s premier development Tour in the season-opening Wingate Park Open in January, but the teenager said the second visit to the winner’s circle was a much sweeter experience.
“I was really pleased when I won in my first start on the IGT Tour, but it was at my home course and it was always in the back of my mind that I had the home course advantage,” he said.
“I have been chasing another victory just to prove to myself that I really can beat these guys. I have to admit that it got really hairy out there under the pressure, but that’s what I’m here for. I am here to learn to win under pressure and I am walking away from this win with a lot of confidence. I held up under the pressure and I pulled it through.”
Conradie holed a long putt for birdie at 10 that settled the nerves at the start of the final round and followed a trio of gains at 14, 15 and 16 with pars to complete the front loop in 32 strokes.
“I birdied the first to go 16 under, but that’s when I started to struggle off the tee,” he said. “Anton and Matthew were playing ahead of me and I heard Anton made a bunch of birdies to gain ground on the back nine and Matthew eagled 15 to catch up, too.
“As much as I tried to stay calm, the nerves showed up and affected my swing. I knew I needed to keep a cool head, try to get myself out of trouble and stick to the game plan.”
Conradie made solid pars at three and four, but pulled his tee shot at the fifth. He caught a flier out of the thick stuff, overshot the green and couldn’t up-and-down to save par.
“I hit a decent three-iron down the fairway at six, but my second finished in the bunker and I made another bogey from the trap,” Conradie said. “
“At the par five, I stuck my second in the water and had to take a drop. I was lucky to get away with par, but I still had a couple of shots in hand, so I played for the middle of the green at the short hole and two-putted for par.
“I stuck it in the fairway bunker off the tee at nine and hit a great trap-shot on the green to four feet. Holed the putt for birdie and the win. It felt great to finish with a birdie after that roller-coaster front nine. After my brother (Ruan) also won on the IGT Tour, it’s been a race to see who would win a second time and it’s really cool to have the bragging rights over my big brother again.”