9th June 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour

Strydom clinches eighth IGT win in play-off

KillarneyDay3 (261)(Ockie Strydom; credit CJ du Plooy)

JOHANNESBURG, 9 June 2016 – Kempton Park’s Ockie Strydom made par on the first play-off hole to beat Warrick Druian for his eighth career IGT Tour victory in the Killarney Challenge on Thursday.

Strydom and Druian began the final day at Killarney Country Club in a tie for the lead at five under, but Strydom held a two shot lead with two holes to play.

Druian finished birdie-birdie to match his playing partner’s one over 71 and the pair finished in a tie on four-under-par 206 at the end of regulation play.

But Druian couldn’t conjure up the same magic on his second trip down 18. The former PGA Championship winner drove his tee shot right and landed among the trees and his second shot caught and the ball ricochet into the water.

“I hit my drive down the middle of the fairway, flew the green left with my second, but I chipped it really close and boxed the par-putt for the win,” said Strydom.

“Warrick is a class player and it was magic playing with him for three rounds and he has some serious BMT. That pin at the 18th was about eight feet from the water and he pitched the ball in the perfect spot. He had to go for it and he pulled it off to perfection.

“It’s nice to have someone nipping at your heels. It keeps you focussed and positive and it keeps you on your toes. I didn’t think I would pull it off after I lost my swing midway through the round, but seven years on Tour has taught me patience. I’m really proud that I pulled it off.”

Strydom overcame a bogey start with birdies at four, five and six to turn at seven under. He was five shots clear of Druian, who birdied the second, but fell off the pace with bogeys at three and five and a double whammy at seven. Then, somewhere between the ninth green and the 10th tee, Strydom lost his swing.

“One minute I’m driving the ball beautifully, the next it’s going anywhere but where I’m aiming,” said the 31-year-old. “It was surreal; like fighting to keep a car with four flat tyres on the road.”

Strydom leaked his tee shot left into the trees at nine, made a great effort to get a nine-iron over the trees to just short of the green and hit a short little chip on the green. “Then I misread the line and three-putted for bogey,” he said.

“I made a complete hash of 11 after I hit the tee shot right into the trees and when I finally got the ball down the fairway at 13, I misjudged the wind and hit the second short.

“I settled down, made three pars and hit it close at 17 and made the birdie, but it was frustrating to drop four shots in four holes and see your lead just go up in smoke. This happens from time to time, though, and the outcome is all about your attitude.”

Strydom tied for second in the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open late last year, and claimed a share of third in the Eye of Africa PGA Championship in March. He hopes the next five weeks on the country’s premier development Tour will help him nail that elusive maiden win on the Sunshine Tour.

“We have a five week break, so I am playing the IGT Tour to stay competitive,” said the GFG Academy player. “It always gives my confidence a boost when I play here and I seem to pick up my game when I go back to the Sunshine Tour, so I hope I can collect a few more trophies before the season resumes.”

Meanwhile Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Nicole Garcia fired a two under 68 to take sole third on 209, while former IGT Tour winner McIntyre closed with a 70 to finish alone in fourth on even-par 210.

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