2nd August 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Delight for Docherty with IGT breakthrough
(PHOTO – Dylan Docherty; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 2 August 2017 – Edenvale’s Dylan Docherty rallied to a maiden IGT Challenge Tour title thanks to an impressive back nine performance in the Waterkloof Challenge on Wednesday.
The Modderfontein golfer was two shots back from joint leaders Triston Strydom, David Mofokeng and Duane Keun when he began the final day at Waterkloof Golf Club. He still lagged two behind Strydom at the turn, but Docherty pushed to the top of the pile when he walked in five birdies on the back nine for a five-under-par 67.
When Strydom – playing in the final group – failed to birdie the closing hole to force a play-off, Docherty could celebrate his first success on the country’s premier golf development circuit with a one shot victory on 15-under-par 201.
Strydom had to settle for second after signing for 70, while Mofokeng finish in third on 13 under with a 71. Pretoria rookie Ruan Conradie carded a 68 to take fourth at 12 under, while Keun returned a 73 to finish a further stroke back in joint fifth with Jason Roets and Michael Schutz.
Docherty has had some close calls during the past two years, including the Race to Q-School #3 title, which he lost to David McIntyre in a play-off at State Mines Country Club last October.
“It’s just magic to savour this moment,” said Docherty. “They say that the more you put yourself into a position to win, the easier it gets. Hopefully this is the start of more victories to come.”
He believes a lot of credit is due to the work he has done with Allan Rimmel from Conscious Sport over the last couple of months to improve the mental side of the game.
“I struggled to move past mistakes, and there were two moments in the final round that would have unhinged me in the past; today I rallied and that won me the tournament,” said the Wanna Be A Champion Academy player.
“After a soft bogey at the third I dropped another shot at six. I would have chewed on those bogeys in the past, but today I focussed forward. I hit a great drive down the eighth over the trees on the corner, hit a soft nine-iron in from 147 metres and holed a two-footer for eagle.
“At 11, I tapped in for birdie. I sunk a six-footer for birdie at 13 and chipped and putted for birdie at 14. The 15th is a downhill par three and I fired a nine-iron at the flag and had another tap-in birdie. My approach at 16 trickled off the green and resulted in another bogey.
“That close to the end, I would have been angry in the past, but today I stayed in the moment. I made a good par at 17 and set myself up for a two-putt birdie at the 18th hole. I’ve been playing well this season, but between my mental game and the putter, I haven’t been scoring. This week all the elements I needed to play great golf showed up.”
For Docherty, it feels like he has come full circle.
He joined the pro ranks in 2009 after a successful amateur career, but after just two seasons, a series of injuries derailed his career. After a dog bite to the face and successive knee surgeries, he packed it in, took a position at a logistic company and even got his amateur status back so he could play league. But his heart wasn’t in it.
“The desire to play professionally haunted me,” said the 32-year-old.
“I was fortunate to get the opportunity to try again. I worked really hard and I cruised through First Stage Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in March. I was in a strong position at Final Stage with one round to go, but an eight at the par four 13th ended my campaign.
“I was gutted because I knew I was good enough, but you have to play the hand you’re dealt with. I’ve been playing the Big Easy Tour and the IGT Challenge Tour, but I’ve been struggling and I honestly started to wonder if I have what it takes.
“This win has given me a real injection of confidence. The hard work won’t stop, though. I will continue to chase more trophies on the IGT Challenge Tour and the Big Easy Tour and I plan to play the Mena Tour in September to gain some international experience. And then it’s back to Q-School.”