29th November 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour

Strydom strikes again at State Mines

(PHOTO – Tristen Strydom; credit CJ du Plooy)

BRAKPAN, 29 November 2017 – Pretoria golfer Tristen Strydom was smiling broadly after he made good on a promise with a one stroke victory in the Race to Q-School Series at State Mines Country Club on Wednesday.

“My dad turns 50 this weekend and I promised him a trophy,” said Strydom after he stepped into the winner’s circle for a fourth time on the IGT Challenge Tour.

“I’m so, so pleased with this win. I’ve been playing in the States for the last four months and after missing out at the second stage of the Web.Com Q-School, I really wanted to make a good start back home. I had problems on the front nine every day and today was no exception. I really had to fight to get the job done. It’s nice to come out on top again.”

Strydom closed with a final round 68 to triumph on 14-under-par 202 in the eighth event of the Qualifying School preparation series. The 20-year-old was not exaggerating about his performance over the opening nine holes. After 54 holes, he was one-over on the front nine and 15 under on the back loop.

“In the first round, I bogeyed the first and doubled the ninth and I dropped shots at three and six in the second round, but on both days I was able to limit the damage,” he said. “I just struggled to get going, but once I turned, I made a bunch of birdies.”

Strydom carded rounds of 68 and 66 to start the final round one shot behind 36-hole leader Thriston Lawrence.

“I thought I had broken the curse when I birdied the second and the third holes, but the bad luck struck at the fourth,” he grinned. “I didn’t hit a great tee shot and we couldn’t find my ball, so I had to reload. They found the ball plugged in a basin of a tree while I hit the perfect drive. I got it on the green but missed the putt for another double bogey.”

A bogey at the short fifth added to his front nine misery.

“I missed the green left at the short hole and didn’t up-and-down for par and the fight was on again to get back to level,” said Strydom. “I have to say, the course set-up was a fantastic. We played off all the back tips and there wasn’t one centre pin. It was a proper challenge.

“I over-shot the green at seven, but chipped it stiff and made the birdie putt and parred eight and nine to turn level. I was a couple back from Thriston and Ruan Korb, but I got within a shot with an eagle at 10. I hit a great drive, pitched a seven-iron eight feet from the hole and boxed the putt.”

Strydom edged clear of the joint leaders with birdies at 12, 14 and 15, although he gave back another shot at the par-three 13th.

“I chipped in for birdies at 12 and 14, and almost holed another chip at 16,” he said. “Once I got the lead, I didn’t take any chances over the last three holes. When I look back at the last round, I can see how much I’ve learned this past year. I have to credit Anchor Up Sport. I signed with them early this year and they have really taught me a lot about managing myself on and off the course and what it takes to make it in the pro ranks. And of course, I really owe my swing coach, Alan Thompson.

“My dad is without a doubt my biggest supporter, but I think if he was following the live scoring over the first nine holes, he definitely would have switched off the computer. I can’t wait to walk into the house and to give him this trophy.”

Lawrence closed with a 70 and former Big Easy Tour winner Rhys West shot 66 to share second at 13 under. First round leader Louis Albertse and Korb tied for fourth on 12 under after posting respective rounds of 67 and 68.

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