10th October 2013 | IGT Challenge Tour
Lupini claims IGT Q-School Race at ERMP
(Photo – Roberto Lupini; credit CJ du Plooy)
BOKSBURG, 9 October 2013 – Robert Lupini finally trusted his ability, swing and emotions and it paid off. The 31-year-old Rivonia golfer stepped into the winner’s circle at the IGT Tour Race to Q-School for the first time since closing out for victory at the Race to Asia tournament at Mooinooi in May.
And he did so in style, coming from behind with a three-under-par 69 at ERMP Golf Club to beat JC van Dommelen and Lean Boezaart by two strokes on seven-under-par 209.
“I knew I was in a good position going into the final round,” said Lupini after collecting a winner’s cheque worth R8,200 and the specially commissioned IGT Tour Race to Q-School trophy.
“I know that sounds simple, but I actually looked forward to playing. I had a good feeling.”
Lupini put himself in a good position to challenge with a second round 67 and things may have looked simple during the final round when overnight leader Callum Mowat and the rest of the field appeared to have stuck it in reverse.
“None of the other guys were really firing, so I knew I was in with a shot,” said Lupini after turning in two under with birdies at the second and fifth.
With his nose in front, Lupini quietly kept up the pressure with pars through the first three holes on the back nine. He picked up another birdie at the par-five 13th, but gave it straight back at the next hole when his two-foot par putt missed the cup.
“Coming off a par at the 16th, I knew I needed a birdie at 17 to seal the win. I had an eagle there in the second round, so I counted on at least making a birdie.”
But Lupini pulled his tee shot and found the left rough. “I thought to myself ‘Murphy’s Law, I blew it’ but when I got to the ball, I saw I had a good line to the green and it was game on again.
“I only had about 150m to the pin, so I hit a gap wedge straight at the flag. I had about 12-foot left and I thought I had another eagle, but the ball pulled up short just an inch from the hole. But as it turned out, birdie was good enough.”
The victory has left Lupini full of confidence about the next few months before he gives the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School another go in January.
“I competed on the Sunshine Tour for three years from 2008, but I lost my card and it has been a constant struggle since to get back,” Lupini said. “I battled with a recurring knee injury and eventually had to have surgery last year.
“This season has been all about getting back to competitive form, so I can have a real shot at Q-School next year. I’ve been able to compete almost every week on the IGT Tour and I’m extremely excited after this win.
“Plus, the IGT Tour player who finishes at the top at Q-School gets a R100,000 sponsorship and that’s a massive carrot to keep you going. Breaking through for a win means so much to me and I just want to keep building on this and put myself in line for that R100K.”
Boezaart carded a 67 and Van Dommelen a 71 to tie for second on five under 211, while overnight leader Mowat claimed his fourth top five finish in five starts in the Race to Q-School series.
The Modderfontein amateur closed with a 74 to finish alone in fourth on four-under-par 212.
FINAL RESULT (Top 20 and ties)
All competitors RSA unless otherwise indicated; amateurs = AMA
209 – Roberto Lupini 73 67 69
211 – Lean Boezaart 74 67 70, JC van Dommelen 69 71 71
212 – Callum Mowat AMA 69 69 74
214 – Johan Theron 74 68 72, Dongkwan Kim 73 69 72
215 – James Searson 74 67 74
216 – Rae Mackie 75 70 71, Bryandrew Roelofsz 72 71 73, Cilliers Naude 74 67 75
219 – Michael Dreyer 76 72 71, Jacques de Villiers 74 71 74, Wayne Stroebel 73 71 75
220 – Arthur Horne 76 72 72, Aubrey Barnard 72 76 72, Terence Boardman 72 74 74, Coert Groenewald 79 73 68, Jaco Prinsloo 73 72 75, Dylan de Beer 71 72 77
221 – Matthew Adams AMA 77 72 72, Andi Dill AMA 73 76 72, Sarel Van der Walt 80 74 67