26th July 2015 | IGT Challenge Tour
Rambo comes of age at Sishen Open
KATHU, 25 July 2015 – Christiaan Bezuidenhout’s dream season continued with his second IGT Tour victory at the Sishen Open on Saturday. On a cold and windy day, his growing maturity shone through as he carded a five under 67 to close out a four-stroke victory on 12-under-par 204.
The victory continued a remarkable season for the 20-year-old Delmas golfer, affectionately called Rambo by his peers.
The Wanna Be A Champion golfer made his pro debut in March and broke through for a maiden win in the Centurion Academy Classic in his second start on the country’s premier development Tour.
He followed with six top three finishes in seven events and the R35,000 first place cheque in Kathu pushes Bezuidenhout to the number one spot on the IGT Tour Money Leaders list.
“I am so incredibly proud of this achievement,” Bezuidenhout said.
“I was really excited when I won my first event in my second pro start, but I still wondered if I was really ready for the big leagues. “This win tells me I am right where I belong.”
Bezuidenhout started the final round on seven under alongside multiple Sunshine Tour winner Doug McGuigan and one stroke ahead of 2011 Zimbabwe Open champion Theunis Spangenberg.
He opened with a birdie and padded his stock pile with five more gains before a lone bogey at 15.
“The conditions were really tough out there,” Bezuidenhout said.
“We were playing off the back tips in a two, two-and-a-half club wind that kept changing direction. You constantly had to change your game plan to adapt to the direction.
“I hit a solid drive down the par five and I had 220 meters to the pin. The wind was off the left, but when I stood over the ball it came off the right, so I was between clubs.
“I went with the hybrid, but I wasn’t comfortable and I didn’t commit to the shot. It ended up right of the green in the trees. I punched out over the green and eventually got the ball in the hole for bogey. I should gone with a four-iron, but hindsight is a perfect science.
“I hit every other fairway and green and I was really happy to produce a 67 under the conditions.”
Spangenberg, level at the turn, reeled in three birdies to offset a bogey at 16 for a 70 and a share of second on eight under with rookie Russel Franz, who returned a 69.
McGuigan won his first senior amateur title at Sishen Golf Club, but the six-time Sunshine Tour champion failed to recapture the magic of 1986 and finished fourth on five under after carding 74.
Bezuidenhout said he felt like the proverbial duck out of water when he made played alongside Spangenberg in the 2014 SA Open Championship as the country’s number one ranked amateur.
“I missed the cut by a landslide,” he said. “I felt like a complete failure then and it meant the world to me when Theunis told me how far I’ve come.
“I have really grown up over the last five months on the IGT Tour. I’ve gained a lot of competitive experience and self-belief and I don’t doubt myself anymore.
“It was a real privilege to play with Dougie and Theunis. They are great competitors, but also unbelievably nice guys. Hopefully I can play a couple of rounds with Dougie when we get back to Joburg. He is very experienced and I know I can still learn a lot from him.”
While Bezuidenhout celebrates his victory, former IGT Tour winner Franz and his amateur partner Nico van der Westhuizen will also toast each other after winning the 36-hole Betterball Team Competition.
The pair carded rounds of 48 and 47 for 95 points to edge out Hennie du Plessis and amateur Ruan Hattingh by one point.
Tyrone Roelofsz and his 11-year-old playing partner Lyle Pedro took third on 91 points.
FINAL RESULT (top 20)
(All players RSA unless otherwise specified; amateurs indicated as AMA)
204 Christiaan Bezuidenhout 71 66 67
208 Russel Franz 69 70 69, Theunis Spangenberg 70 68 70
211 Dougie McGuigan 68 69 74
213 Drikus Van der Walt 68 74 71, Hennie Du Plessis 69 70 74
214 Keegan Steyn (AMA) 70 72 72, Bertie Steenkamp (AMA) 68 72 74
215 MJ Viljoen 65 74 76
Par Simon Kruger 74 71 71, Divan Gerber 68 75 73
217 Hilton Hughes (AMA) 68 81 68, Glen de Waal (NAM) 76 69 72, Jaco Mouton 73 72 72, Bryandrew Roelofsz 71 73 73
218 Herman Minnie 76 73 69, Desvonde Botes 73 72 73
219 Greg Bentley (ZIM) 71 75 73, Breyten Meyer 70 75 74, Lean Boezaart 71 72 76