29th January 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
De Jager gets his just deserts at Killarney Open
JOHANNESBURG, 28 January 2016 – While Keith Horne was busy upstaging world number one Jordan Spieth in round one of the Singapore Open in Asia, his Lumenrock Sport stable-mate Louis de Jager celebrated a wire-to-wire victory in the IGT Tour’s Killarney Open on Wednesday.
“I’m flippen happy to see that Keith got his groove back because he has also been struggling in the last couple of months,” De Jager said. “Every pro goes through this at one stage or another, but the frustration can drive you insane.
“So people might think that winning on South Africa’s development Tour is nothing compared to leading in Asia, but let me tell you, any pro who has gone through a long period of frustration will tell you that a return to the winner’s circle is as good as winning the Lotto.”
De Jager opened with a five under 65 at Killarney Country Club to take pole position. He protected his lead with a second round 66 and closed with a 69 for a three stroke victory on 10 under 200.
The timely victory just two weeks before the R18.5-million Tshwane Open signalled a welcome return to form for the delighted three-time Sunshine Tour winner.
“My last victory on the Sunshine Tour came at the Nedbank Affinity Cup in November 2014 and that year I finished the season ranked 17th,” De Jager said. “The next year, I bagged a top 25 finish in the Chase to the Investec Cup in March and then it was just downhill from there.”
After missing eight cuts in nine starts, De Jager looked up Llewellyn von Leeuwen at the HPC TuksSport Golf Academy.
“Lew was my first coach as an amateur and the person that knows my swing the best,” he said. “We knew it would take months of hard work to sort out my game, but they have a great team at Tuks HPC that looks after every facet of the game.
“The relief to see all that work pay off with three solid rounds this week is indescribable. It’s not just about winning. It’s about hitting the ball well and putting well. It’s about restricting the bogeys and stringing three sub-par rounds together. And knowing that it’s going to keep getting better and better.”
De Jager came unstuck at the start of the round, but quickly got his challenge back on track
“I was really nervous on the first tee, but I guess it’s been a while,” De Jager laughed. “I hit a decent tee shot but it struck a tree and shot straight into the water. Matthew Southgate made a birdie start and we were level after my bogey, and I guess that broke the tension.
“I holed a four-footer for birdie at four and made a great sand-save for birdie at the next hole to pull two shots clear. Matthew dropped shots at seven and nine and that gave me a four shot lead going down the back nine. The set-up was really tough, so I just played for pars.”
De Jager was stung by a bee at the 13th hole and didn’t know if he was allergic.
“As it turned out, Maja’s kiss was just the kick I needed to box a birdie putt at 14,” he said. “I wanted to finish in style, but I pulled my tee shot slightly and finished in the trees at 18. I had a lot of shots in hand, so I just punched out, got on the green and two-putted for the win. Now I’m going to enjoy a few days playing with Luca and then I’m going to polish my game for the Tshwane Open in the IGT Tour event at Centurion next week.”
Sunshine Tour Q-School graduate Johnathan Agren from Sweden carded a 66 to sweep past England’s Southgate into sole second, while Matthew Carvell fired a 65 to grab a share of third on 204 with Southgate, who closed with a 71.