7th June 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Full marks for maiden IGT winner Albertse
(PHOTO – Louis Albertse; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 7 June 2017 – KwaZulu-Natal amateur Louis Albertse sealed a sensational maiden victory in just his third start on the IGT Challenge Tour this season after a dramatic comeback in the final round of the Wingate Challenge on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old from Dundee fired nine birdies to close out a two stroke victory with a six-under-par 66 at Wingate Park Country Club.
Albertse trailed by five going into the final round, but he vaulted into contention with a string of four birdies from the sixth hole and never wavered over a flawless back nine for his breakthrough win on seven under par 209 on the country’s premier golf development circuit.
“I have shot some low rounds at Wingate Park before and I made a lot of birdies in the first two rounds, so I knew I could go low if I kept a clean card,” said the HPC Golf Academy player. “But I knew it would take a pretty special round to win.”
Albertse birdied the par five second, but he just as soon lost the advantage with a double bogey at four and a bogey at the fifth.
“I snap-hooked my tee shot at the fourth into some trees and I had no shot,” Albertse said. “All I could do was chip out. I left my third shot short of the green, chipped and two-putted for six. At five, I short-sided myself in the bunker and didn’t up-and-down to save par. I knew I had a lot of holes left, so I pushed the restart button.
“I hit my second to 25 feet left of the pin at six. I got the line and the pace perfect and watching the ball disappear down the hole was a definitely a huge confidence booster.”
The birdie at six also launched a nice little run for Albertse, who sunk a 15 foot left-to-right breaker at seven. He was one of only four players to birdie the tough par three eighth on the final day.
“The hole was right into the wind and the pin was tucked on a slope,” he said. “I had 175 metres to the flag and I hit a 7-iron to 20 feet short of the pin. The ball broke eight feet before it zeroed in on the hole.
“I boxed another right-to-left breaker at nine for my fourth birdie in a row. The putter was definitely key to my win. I trusted myself, committed to the putts and made positive strokes.”
Albertse holed his trap-shot at 11 for birdie and picked up another gain at the par-five 13th before he closed with a brace of gains at last two holes.
“I’m really pleased that I was able to regroup after the train smash early in the round and really play the round shot-for-shot,” he said.
“It’s one of the things you learn here on the IGT Challenge Tour. It’s quite different to the amateur circuit, because of the mixture of professionals and amateurs. With the boards around the course and the scoring, you get a real taste of the pro ranks.
“The circuit is very competitive and it teaches you how learn how to handle the nerves. The set-up was really tough, but I trusted myself and my game out there. I guess it’s true what they say; once you’ve won the first one, you want more because I can’t wait for the next event.”
Local amateur JP Cooper and Pretoria rookie Paul Boshoff both led the field and had the chance to close out victories, but too many mistakes on the back nine saw the pair tie for second after carding respective rounds of 70 and 72.