Buffeted Bezuidenhout posts maiden Tour victory | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Buffeted Bezuidenhout posts maiden Tour victory

PORT ALFRED, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 14: Christiaan Bezuidenhout during the trophy presentation during day 3 of the Sun Fish River Challenge at Fish River Sun Country Club on October 14, 2016 in Port Alfred, South Africa. EDITOR'S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Petri Oeschger/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

Christiaan Bezuidenhout survived what he called the toughest five-hole stretch of his career on Friday before he broke through to take his maiden Sunshine Tour victory in the R700,000 Sun Fish River Sun Challenge.
He was buffeted by winds gusting up to 55 kilometres per hour as he made a double-bogey on 10 and followed that with two bogeys in succession on the next two holes, before storming home with a birdie on 15, eagle on 16, par on 17 and birdie on 18 to trump Danie van Tonder by two strokes.
‘I knew it was going to be tough when I saw the wind turn on us this morning,’ he said. ‘I knew I had to stay patient because there were going to be bad shots hit and bogeys made. So just kept myself going.’
He had a great start, leaping put ahead of Jason Viljoen and Toby Tree, with whom he shared the 36-hole lead, with a pair of birdies on the opening two holes. ‘That helped me get through the tough patches,’ he said.
But things got tough from the sixth hole, where he made what he called a ‘good bogey’. He made another bogey on seven, but things started looking up. ‘I had a good turn with birdies on eight and nine, and then the stretch from 10 to 14 was as tough as I’ve ever played this course.
‘I’ve played this course quite a few times and I had some amateur success on it. I knew if I could get that stretch out of the way with not too much damage, I’d be okay,’ he added.
The damage looked to be terminal when he made double-bogey on 10 and bogeys on 11 and 12. But then came the surge. ‘I hit a great seven-iron to about three feet for birdie on 15,’ he said, ‘and then, with 16 playing downwind, all I had to do was find the fairway. I hit a great three-wood down there and hit a seven-iron to about two feet and made the eagle. I told myself to just hang on at that point.’
With the strong wind, most players were cutting the corner of the dogleg 18th and going for the green, but Bezuidenhout elected to play conservatively to protect his lead. It turned out well for him as he hit his approach from the middle of the fairway to five feet and made the putt for birdie to stretch his lead to two.
From the very first Sunshine Tour tournament of 2016, the BMW SA Open, where he finished runner-up to Brandon Stone, Bezuidenhout has looked for all the world a winner.
Getting that win under his belt in his first full season on the Sunshine Tour feels particularly sweet. ‘One of my goals was definitely to win an event,’ he said. ‘I’ve had a few chances so far and just couldn’t get the job done, so I’m glad to tick the box now.’

Picture of Bezuidenhout courtesy of Petri Oeschger/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

Scores:
208 – Christiaan Bezuidenhout 69 69 70
210 – Danie van Tonder 72 68 70
212 – Neil Schietekat 71 73 68, Louis de Jager 75 66 71, Jonathan Agren 70 70 72, Jason Viljoen 67 71 74
213 – Ruan de Smidt 70 72 71, Jared Harvey 74 69 70, Madalitso Muthiya 73 69 71, Titch Moore 69 70 74
214 – Tyrone Ferreira 72 71 71, Christiaan Basson 71 72 71, Wallie Coetsee 72 68 74
215 – PH McIntyre 71 72 72, Francois van Vuuren 71 73 71, Colin Nel 71 69 75
216 – Jake Roos 72 71 73, Steven Ferreira 68 74 74, Callum Mowat 73 68 75, Oliver Bekker 70 75 71
217 – Pieter Kruger 70 72 75
218 – Peter Karmis 72 71 75, Justin Harding 73 68 77, Stefan Engell Andersen 74 70 74, Doug McGuigan 70 71 77, Steve Surry 80 65 73, Toby Tree 71 67 80
219 – Mark Williams 72 71 76, Rourke van der Spuy 75 69 75, Michael Palmer 78 66 75
220 – Allister de Kock 73 70 77, Jacquin Hess 70 72 78, CJ du Plessis 72 70 78, Tyrone Ryan 75 70 75, Anthony Michael 72 73 75
222 – Ulrich van den Berg 75 70 77, Vaughn Groenewald 73 72 77
223 – JC Ritchie 70 71 82, Trevor Mahoney 69 76 78
224 – Teboho Sefatsa 72 73 79
225 – Derick Petersen 73 70 82
226 – Charl Coetzee 70 75 81


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