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Seven birdies help Michael earn second IGT Tour win

Michael

If birdies are the best way to build confidence, Anthony Michael must be brimming with conviction after he collected seven gains in a flawless display at Ruimsig Country Club to win the Race to Q-School #13 on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Sunshine Tour campaigner held off a spirited charge from rookie Matthew Spacey to capture his second IGT Challenge Tour victory by two strokes on 18-under-par198.

Spacey was equally impressive as he matched Michael’s flawless seven under 65 to take second.

‘Matthew was just firing out there and he wouldn’t let up, so I had to step up my game,’ Michael said. ‘I played some exceptional golf and to shoot 18 under par at a championship layout like Ruimsig is a huge confidence booster ahead of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship.’

Earlier rounds of 67 and 66 left Michael two shots clear of Spacey starting final day. ‘I thought a two shot lead was a comfortable cushion and I never expected it to be such a close run battle,’ he said. ‘I must admit that it was fabulous to have Matthew breathing down my neck.

‘I really had to dig deep and get aggressive out there. I had close shaves at the first three holes but the putts didn’t drop, and Matthew birdied the first and third to wipe out my lead. We both birdied the fourth, but then I made three birdies in a row from the seventh to take back the lead.’

Michael turned with a two shot lead after Spacey also gained a shot at the ninth and the rookie kept up the pressure with more gains at 10 and 13. ‘I knocked one in for a birdie at 12 and holed another birdie putt at 14 to protect the lead, but Matthew stayed on my heels. We both left a few out there, but we finished in style with a pair of birdies at the last hole. It was a lot of fun to get into a tight tussle again.’

Michael, who ranks ninth on the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit, missed the cut in last year’s Eye of Africa PGA Championship, which prompted him to tee it up on the country’s premier golf development tour this week.

‘I’m definitely not having a short week this year,’ he said. ‘I wanted to keep competitive after the BMW SA Open and this week highlighted a few things that I need to polish. I’m striking the ball really well and I’m hitting my irons beautifully, but the putter needs some attention.

‘The short stick is your bread and butter and I left a few out there. If I can get those to drop, I back myself this year at the Eye of Africa. It’s been great to see the talent coming through this week and to give these youngsters a target, the way the pros used to give us something to shoot for.’

Picture of a victorious Michael courtesy of CJ du Plooy

Final Result
All competitors SA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as AMA.
198 – Anthony Michael 67 66 65
200 – Matthew Spacey 68 67 65
202 – Ockert Strydom 70 67 65
204 – Ruan Korb AMA 70 66 68
205 – Jaco Prinsloo 69 67 69
206 – John McClean (NIR) 71 69 66, Kyle Barker 71 69 66, Michael Palmer 73 66 67
207 – Clinton Grobler 72 68 67, Tyrone Ryan 67 72 68
208 – Conway Kunneke 72 69 67
209 – Coert Groenewald 72 71 66, Paul Boshoff 73 69 67, Duane Keun 72 68 69
210 – Andi Dill 69 72 69, Mark James (ENG) 70 70 70, Jacopo Vecchi Fossa (ITA) 70 69 71, Bryce Myburgh 69 70 71, Phillip Kruse AMA 70 66 74
211 – Rhys West 72 73 66, NJ Arnoldi 74 66 71, Johary Raveloarison (MDG) 71 75 65
212 – Craig Ross AMA (SCO) 73 69 70, CJ Levey 73 69 70, Dongkwan Kim (KOR) 69 72 71, Philip Geerts AMA (ITA) 69 71 72, Paul De Beer 72 68 72
213 – Russel Franz 72 72 69, Neal Herman 73 72 68, Estiaan Conradie 68 73 72, Teagan Moore 72 68 73
214 – Ryan Wingrove AMA 72 70 72, Sam Botham (ENG) 72 74 68
215 – Stephan De Beer 74 70 71, Billy Greyvenstein AMA 74 72 69, Christian Basson AMA 71 75 69, Dean O’Riley 71 69 75, Ruan Conradie 71 76 68, Eric Nel AMA 73 67 75
217 – Ruan Botha AMA 78 68 71, Andrew Carlsson AMA 75 71 71, Ryan Tipping 73 73 71, Shane Irwin AMA (IRE) 75 72 70
218 – Justin Turner 73 72 73, John Parkinson 73 72 73, Gilson Filho (BRA) 74 72 72, Darren Gerrard 76 72 70, Gregg Blainey (ENG) 74 74 70, Jonathan Waschefort 77 72 69
219 – Michael Kok AMA 77 72 70
220 – Arno Bartholoma (GER) 74 71 75, Marcus Smal AMA 72 74 74, Luke Brown AMA 74 75 71
221 – Matt Wollmann (ZIM) 74 76 71222 – Stephen Forsyth AMA 72 73 77, Terence Boardman 77 70 75, Ruhan Van Dijk AMA 74 74 74, WM Coetzee AMA 75 73 74, Quintin Crause 74 76 72
223 – Edoardo Torrieri (ITA) 74 74 75, Divan Marais 73 77 73
224 – Brad Harris (ENG) 69 75 80
226 – Ricardo Towell 76 74 76
228 – James Ford (ENG) 71 74 83
230 – Owen Grobler 78 72 80


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