Bull and Lion help Visser capture Challenge title | SASCOC - SASCOC

Bull and Lion help Visser capture Challenge title


Ermelo amateur Leon Visser saluted the Bulls and the Lions after he emerged from an enthralling final-day battle in the Services Challenge with his first IGT Challenge Tour title on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Mpumalanga golfer trailed Teboho Sefatsa by two shots heading into the final round at Services Golf Club, but he was in the mix around the turn. A hard-fought two-under-par 70 ensured the desired result – a one-shot maiden victory on 10 under 206.

‘I made all the shots, but the credit goes to Ulrich (Bulls player, Beyers) and Jannie Putter,’ said Visser. ‘Ulrich and I go back a long way. Since I started playing on the IGT Challenge Tour he has been my biggest supporter and this week he took some time out to be my bag man.

‘He did great job keeping me positive and I couldn’t be happier to share my first win with my best mate.’

Visser also spent some time with Lions mental mentor Putter last week. ‘He gave me some great advice, but there was one thing he said that really stuck with me. We all tell ourselves that we think we can win, when we should be telling ourselves we know we can win. That completely changed my mindset.’

Beyers reckoned it was Visser’s new mantra that got the job done.

‘Right through the round Leon mumbled to himself before every shot,’ said the Bulls utility back. ‘He was saying ‘My pa het nie bang kinders grootgemaak nie’ (My dad didn’t raise cowards). Every time he said it, you could see his face shift and he got this determined look. I think it’s that chant that got him to the finish line.’

Sefatsa bogeyed the opening hole, but Visser nearly holed out and drained a 45-footer for birdie at the second to draw level. He left his par-putt in the throat at the third, though, and also dropped the eighth when he failed to up-and-down from the bunker while Sefatsa birdied five and nine to regain the lead.

The momentum shifted around the turn. ‘I hit my drive flush at the ninth, hit a six-iron to 10 feet and two-putted for birdie,’ said Visser. ‘Tebs dropped 10 and I boxed a 15-footer to tie for the lead at 10 under. I bogeyed 11, but birdied 13. I had the lead for a hole when Tebs dropped 14, but then I dropped at 15.

‘I had 155 metres to the pin. It was a perfect gap-wedge distance for me and I thought it would pitch just short of the flag, but I flew the green. The adrenaline was obviously pumping. I just took the punishment, but I stayed positive.’

Visser edged ahead again when he holed a 45-footer to save par at 16 and Sefatsa dropped. It was also at this point that he realised Pieter Moolman and Kyle McClatchie had joined the fight.

‘Pieter and Kyle were both seven-under with two to play,’ he said. ‘I aimed my tee shot straight down the middle at 17 and had 50 metres left to the pin. Pitched it 15 feet from the pin and boxed the putt to go 10-under. At 18, I hit three-wood down the 18th fairway. I only had 115 metres in, so I wanted to hit a knock-down gap-wedge straight at the pin, but I duffed the shot.

‘It’s winter, so the fairways are rock-hard. The ball bounced and kicked and it finished just 10 centimetres from the yellow hazard line. Tebs hit his second in the water and I knew I caught a huge break. I chipped it to six feet and two-putted for the win. It was the best feeling ever to get that first win.’

Moolman finished birdie-birdie for a 66 and the runner-up spot on nine-under.

McClatchie, South Africa’s top-ranked amateur, blitzed the course in 65 strokes to bank a R500 cheque for the low round of the day and a share of third on eight-under with Sefatsa, who birdied 17, but bogeyed the last hole for a 74.

Picture of Visser and his ‘caddie’ Blue Bulls utility back Ulrich Beyers courtesy of CJ du Plooy

Final Result
All competitors SA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as AMA
206 – Leon Visser AMA 68 68 70
207 – Pieter Moolman 72 69 66
208 – Kyle McClatchie AMA 73 70 65, Teboho Sefatsa 69 65 74
209 – Bennie van der Merwe 67 73 69
210 – Ruan Conradie 68 68 74, Tertius van den Berg 68 68 74
212 – Richard Joubert AMA 70 73 69
216 – Roberto Lupini 70 76 70, JP Cooper AMA 75 71 70, Clinton Grobler 72 72 72
217 – Shaun van Tonder 71 71 75, Estiaan Conradie 71 69 77
218 – Phillip Kruse AMA 76 70 72, Juan Langeveld 74 71 73, Ru-Juan Lessingh AMA 73 74 71, Thabi Ngcobo 76 71 71, Bryce Myburgh 71 68 79
219 – Divan Marais 78 71 70, Ruan Groenewald AMA 74 75 70
220 – Etienne Janse van Rensburg AMA 71 73 76, Ruan Korb 73 75 72
221 – Owen Grobler 74 74 73
222 – Jade Buitendag 75 72 75
223 – Pedro August 71 77 75, Conway Kunneke 74 76 73
224 – Terry Smith 78 74 72
225 – Jacques Cloete AMA 73 72 80, Louis Botha 72 77 76
226 – Duan Nagel AMA 71 75 80, Mae Cornforth 74 76 76, Jay Dean Fourie 73 79 74
228 – Estiaan De Jager AMA 75 75 78, Paul De Beer 77 75 76
230 – Cameron Nesmith AMA 76 74 80
232 – Dennis Williams AMA 75 74 83
N/R – Cameron Gurr AMA 78 74 N/R

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