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Bezuidenhout bags maiden IGT Challenge Tour win

Bezuidenhout

Theunis Bezuidenhout rallied to a maiden IGT Challenge Tour title in the second Race to Q-School on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old Rustenburg amateur outpaced five-time champion Estiaan Conradie with a final round six-under-par 66 to close out a two shot victory on 16 under 200 at Pecanwood Golf and Country Club.

Bezuidenhout came close to a first win on the country’s premier golf development circuit in the Pecanwood Challenge in May and was delighted to go the distance.

‘It feels great to put my hands on a trophy after knocking so many times this season,’ he said. ‘I’ve definitely gained experience over the last four months, because Estiaan turned up the pressure on the back nine, but I handled it really well. It was such a fantastic feeling to hole that winning putt.’

Bezuidenhout posted rounds of 68 and 66 to start the last day with a two-shot lead over Pieter Moolman from the Lake Club Benoni and Pretoria duo Conradie and Paul Boshoff.

He birdied three, five and seven, had a lone bogey at six.

‘I had a solid front nine,’ said Bezuidenhout. ‘I hit a great shot into the third to a very tight pin and holed an eight-footer for birdie to get the round going. I solid two-putt birdie at five, but I missed the green at six and couldn’t up-and-down to save par.

‘At seven I holed a 10-footer for birdie and I felt really comfortable at the turn. The other guys fell away, but Estiaan had two birdies to keep in touch. The back nine was kind to me. I played it four-under without bogeys and that gave me some confidence.’

Bezuidenhout and Conradie both birdied 10, but Conradie closed in with an eagle at 12.

‘We played off the back tips on most of the holes and the 12th was playing a lot longer than the previous rounds,’ said Bezuidenhout. ‘I hit my tee shot slightly left and Estiaan went down the middle. I hit hybrid from 250 metres to 25 feet and Estiaan hit an iron close and holed his eagle putt. I lagged my first putt to eight feet and made the birdie to go 14 under, but he was right on my heels.’

Bezuidenhout had birdie chances at 13 and 14, but pars were enough to protect his lead. At 15, the pin was tucked just over the greenside bunker. Bezuidenhout hit his approach from 90 metres out to five feet but Conradie found the trap.

‘Estiaan’s bunker shot finished 15 feet from the hole, but made the birdie and that two-shot swing gave me a little breathing room,’ Bezuidenhout said. ‘Then Estiaan chipped in for birdie at 16.

‘I was two up with two to play. I knew I had to box cleverly over the last two holes. I made a great par save at 17 from five feet. I hit a good drive down 18, my second shot landed 12 feet from the pin and I knocked it in for the win.

‘We have a stretch of three events on the amateur circuit in November, so I’ll play a few more IGT events to prepare for The Bobby Locke. Hopefully I can keep the consistency going. It would be great to win one to boost my ranking before the end of the season.’

Conradie closed with a 67 to finish three shots back and a 70 from Moolman earned him third on 206.

Picture of Bezuidenhout with trophy courtesy of CJ du Plooy

Final Results
All competitors SA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:
200 – Theunis Bezuidenhout AMA 68 66 66
203 – Estiaan Conradie 68 68 67
206 – Pieter Moolman 71 65 70
208 – Ruan Conradie 67 71 70
209 – Cameron Moralee AMA 67 73 69
210 – Dylan O’Leary 72 72 66, Roberto Lupini 71 69 70
211 – Joubert van Eeden 70 67 74, Paul Boshoff 69 67 75
212 – Etienne Janse van Rensburg AMA 71 70 71
213 – Tertius van den Berg 71 70 72, Jade Buitendag 67 73 73, Wayne du Toit 66 72 75
214 – Sipho Bujela 74 69 71, Jack Duthie 73 69 72
215 – Mark Williams 71 71 73
216 – Jason Diab 72 71 73, Beyers Smith 67 77 72, Leon Visser AMA 72 68 76
217 – Ruan Korb 68 71 78, Armand van Dyk AMA 74 74 69
218 – Patric Dowling AMA 73 71 74, Quintin Crause 71 73 74
219 – Marthin Scheepers 71 76 72, Phillip Kruse AMA 76 72 71, Eric Nel AMA 77 71 71, Matt Bright 70 75 74
221 – Louis Albertse AMA 72 74 75, Romano Saincic 72 76 73
224 – Divan Marais 74 77 73
225 – Gareth Anderson AMA 75 72 78, Juan Langeveld 68 79 78
229 – Angus Ellis-Cole AMA 73 72 84, Cedric Brummer 76 74 79
235 – Bryce Myburgh 70 81 84
WDN – Eugene Marugi 74 74 WDN


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