17th November 2014 | IGT Challenge Tour
Spacey sweeps Central Gauteng Open
17 November 2014 – Fourways amateur Matthew Spacey hopes to extend his purple patch with more success at the Harry Oppenheimer Trophy and International Teams Championship at Maccauvlei this week after claiming back-to-back victories on the IGT Tour and SA amateur circuit.
The 23-year-old Dainfern golfer carded a flawless final round 63 at Wanderers Golf Club on Thursday to lift the sixth Race to Q-School title and served up another flawless performance in the final round of the Central Gauteng Open to claim his second successive podium finish on Sunday.
His incredible run of form actually started a week ago at Benoni Country Club when he tied for fourth in only his second start on the country’s premier development Tour.
Following his victory at Wanderers, Spacey was slow off the pace in the weather-hit provincial amateur event at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and trailed by four strokes going into the final round.
He eagled the first hole at the East Course to set the tone for his round and sealed a breathless bid for glory five birdies to sign for a seven-under-par 65.
Spacey triumphed by one stroke on nine-under-par 207 over IGT Tour regular Ludovic Bax from Mauritius, who posted rounds of 69, 71 and 68.
Spacey credited the IGT Tour and renowned sport phycologist, Theo Bezuidenhout, for what he termed a week of mental breakthroughs.
“I began playing on the IGT Tour to gain experience and confidence playing against the pros,” he said.
“Winning in my third start really gave me a huge boost in confidence going into the Central Gauteng Open. I shot 71 in the first round and I knew I needed a good start to make something happen.
“I wasn’t striking the ball too well, but I made birdie at the first. Then I had three bogeys on the trot. Theo and I have been working on ways to overcome adversity in a tournament, so I just went back to the basics. I played percentage golf, tee to green, to turn things around and it worked.”
Spacey got back on track with birdies at the seventh and the eighth holes before play was called off and birdied the 10th after the restart on Sunday morning.
Following a second successive 71, the TuksSport Golf Academy player set the tone for a blistering final round with an eagle at the first. He reeled in birdies at the third, sixth, 13th and 15th to tie for the lead.
“I think the real breakthrough came at the 16th,” he said. “I drove it into the bunker and made a great up-and-down to save par. That really boosted my confidence with two holes to play.”
Spacey split the fairway at the par-five 18th, but hit his two-iron approach in the bunker.
“Coming off the save at 16, I wasn’t scared to take on the trap shot,” he said. “I splashed it to six feet and made the putt to win. It was tough mentally, but I proved to myself that I can turn things around.
“I hit four poor tee shots in the second round that cost me, but I got past it.
“This victory is a huge confidence booster for me.”
Following the 54-hole Harry Oppenheimer Cup, Spacey will line up with Marco Steyn, Darin de Smidt and Michael Dixon in the International Teams Championship.
The four players were members of the victorious Central Gauteng team that won this year’s Premier SA Inter-Provincial, sponsored by Tempest, in September.
Nearly 11 months since he won the Individual Honours in the International Teams Championship at Maccauvlei, Spacey is primed ahead of his title defence.
“I’m swinging it really great now, but I know I don’t need to panic if my swing lets me down,” he said.
“I feel like I’ve crossed a huge mental barrier. I definitely want to do better than last year in the Harry Oppenheimer and help my team to the podium in the International Teams.”
TOP 10 RESULTS
207 Matthew Spacey (Central Gauteng) 71 71 65
208 Ludovic Bax (Central Gauteng) 69 71 68
210 Marco Steyn (Central Gauteng) 66 72 72
211 Niel du Preez (Border) 71 69 71; Jason Froneman (Ekurhuleni) 70 72 69
212 Bryce McCabe (Ekurhuleni 71 74 67; Jade Buitendag (Southern Cape) 67 73 72
213 Darin de Smidt (Central Gauteng) 73 68 72; Dylan Mostert (Ekurhuleni) 67 72 74
214 Teaghan Gauche (Gauteng North) 72 73 69