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Early Christmas cheer for Grobler at Killarney

Grobler

Clinton Grobler hit two magnificent shots and holed a confident putt at the 54th hole of the season-finale at Killarney Country Club to end a 14-month wait for a second IGT Challenge Tour victory on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Krugersdorp golfer threw away a two-shot lead with successive bogeys at 16 and 17. He then needed a birdie finish to beat Kyle Barker from Randpark to lift the trophy at the 10th Race to Q-School Series event.

Grobler smacked a two-iron down the 18th fairway, leaving himself a perfect pitching wedge in. ‘I was 150 metres out and I hit it to five feet,’ said Grobler, who collected an early Christmas box worth R8 000 for his one-stroke victory on three-under-par 207.

‘My playing partners had some trouble around the green and I started to overthink the putt. Once it was my turn to play, I just switched my mind off. I went with the first line I picked, committed to the shot and put a confident stroke on the putt for a 71 and the win.

‘This does my confidence the world of good. I didn’t expect to win this season, because the standard is so much higher. I felt I couldn’t compete with these guys, but playing the Joburg Open really changed my mind-set. I came here knowing I have the game to beat these guys and I did it.’

Grobler carried a two-shot lead into the final round after successive rounds of 68.

Barker started three off the pace and was level through the turn after three birdies and bogeys. A flawless back nine with birdies at 12 and 15 saw him sign for 69 and he set the clubhouse target at two-under.

‘It’s been a while and I was pretty nervous at the start the round,’ said Grobler. ‘I birdied the first, but shanked a five-iron off the tee at the second and finished in the trees. I left my approach short and I told myself that if I could up-and-down to make par, I would be okay.’

Grobler saved par, hit it close at three and made the birdie putt to get back to five under.

‘The nerves disappeared,’ he said. ‘I made solid pars over the next three holes and birdied the eighth, but the ninth got me again,’ said Grobler, who dropped two shots at the tough par four in the second round.

‘Yesterday I went left; today right. My second finished in the greenside bunker and I two-putted for bogey after the trap-shot. I dropped another shot at 10, but I made some good pars after that and a two shot lead with three to play.’

At 16, Grobler hit his tee shot down the middle and had 160 metres left to the pin. ‘The wind was into us, so I wanted to hit a soft nine-iron with a slight draw, but the ball stayed right and finished on the fringe,’ he said. ‘Then I three-putted from nowhere. I took six-iron off the tee at 17, but short-sided myself in the greenside bunker. I chipped it seven feet past the hole and missed the return, so I walked to the 18th tee knowing I had to birdie the last.

‘I hit a lot of fairways and greens this week and my putting was good enough to get the job done on one of the toughest courses on the IGT Challenge Tour circuit. To come away with a victory during the Race to Q-School Series is a big accomplishment for me, and for my coach Hennie Rootman.’

First round leader Adriel Poonan (70) and Juan Langeveld (67) tied for third on one under.

Gary Player Class of 2017 members Makhetha Mazibuko (69) and Omar Sandys (71) shared fifth on even-par with reigning IGT Challenge Tour Money List leader Ruan Conradie (71) and Francois Coetzee (70), Thriston Lawrence (73) finished a further stroke back in ninth on his own.

Race to Q-School Order of Merit leader Estiaan Conradie (71) Jason Roets (73), Tokkie van den Berg (69)  and amateur Andrew Carlsson (69) closed out the top 10 in the season-finale on two over.

Picture of victorious Grobler courtesy of CJ du Plooy

Final Result
All competitors SA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as AMA.
207– Clinton Grobler 68 68 71
208– Kyle Barker 73 66 69
209– Juan Langeveld 72 70 67, Adriel Poonan 67 72 70
210– Makhetha Mazibuko 71 70 69, Francois Coetzee 69 71 70, Omar Sandys 69 70 71, Ruan Conradie 68 71 71
211– Thriston Lawrence 72 66 73
212– Tertius van den Berg 73 70 69, Andrew Carlsson AMA 74 69 69, Estiaan Conradie 71 70 71, Jason Roets 69 70 73
213– Dongkwan Kim (KOR) 69 69 75
214– Pieter Moolman 73 71 70, Musiwalo Nethunzwi 70 73 71, Allan Versfeld 76 68 70, Quintin Crause 72 69 73, Kyle Lucas 76 71 67
215– David McIntyre AMA 72 73 70, David Mofokeng (LSO) 71 71 73
216– Richard Joubert 73 71 72, Roberto Lupini 70 73 73
217– Brendan Britten (NAM) 72 72 73, Jonathan Waschefort 72 70 75, Zabastian de Jager 70 72 75, Maritz Wessels 69 73 75, Eric Nel AMA 73 74 70, Gerard du Plooy 74 74 69, Ruhan van Dijk AMA 76 72 69, Tristen Strydom 71 68 78
218– Toto Thimba Jnr 73 73 72, Wayne Stroebel 75 72 71, Juran Dreyer AMA 72 66 80
219– Bryce Myburgh 71 74 74, Marco de Beer 73 68 78, Neezy Thubisi 76 71 72, David Nortje AMA 71 67 81
220– Luke Brown AMA 74 70 76, Allister de Kock 70 76 74, Peetie van der Merwe AMA 71 69 80, Jade Buitendag 73 76 71
221– Justin Turner 71 70 80
222– Matthew Vogel 73 72 77, Irvin Mazibuko 75 71 76
223– Mpho Mafishe 75 70 78, Werner van Wyk 75 74 74, Basil Wright 77 74 72
224– Ru-Juan Lessingh AMA 68 77 79, NJ van der Walt AMA 75 74 75
225– Ruan Korb 74 70 81, Hayden Griffiths AMA 74 72 79
226– Paul Boshoff 73 76 77
227– Dylan O’Leary 77 70 80, Vaughn van Deventer AMA 76 73 78
228– Aneel Kallan AMA 77 73 78
230– Liam Clinton AMA 76 76 78
232– Leon Visser AMA 75 74 83
233– Wayne du Toit 72 80 81
N/R– Romano Saincic 68 79 N/R


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