Groe­newald sneaks it at the Wild Coast

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - RACING - LUNGANI ZAMA

DUR­BAN: Vaughn Groe­newald won a thor­oughly dra­matic Wild Coast Challenge yes­ter­day, to end what must have felt like one of the long­est weeks on the Sun­shine Tour.

Groe­newald had to hold off three ri­vals in a play-off to get the job done, and he birdied the 18th hole at the first time of ask­ing.

That secured a cheque for R126 800, and stopped a frus­trat­ing run of three missed cuts in spec­tac­u­lar fashion.

Groe­newald, 43, plays out of Kingswood Golf Es­tate, and his fa­mil­iar­ity with the windy con­di­tions proved very handy. It was also a sec­ond tri­umph at the Wild Coast in four years, af­ter his ti­tle here in 2015.

Groe­newald will look back on his sec­ond round, nine­un­der 61 as the key to the vic­tory, but he still had to birdie the clos­ing hole, in reg­u­la­tion, just to make it into the play-off. He carded a 66, in­clud­ing two birdies in his last three holes.

Some­one had to post a low one from the mid­dle of the pack, and the big, fi­nal day charge came from serial win­ner Darren Fichardt, who went out in a blis­ter­ing five-un­der 30, be­fore com­ing home with three more birdies, for a sparkling 62. That set the club­house tar­get at 16-un­der, and it was up to Groe­newald and sec­ond round leader Adil­son de Silva to re­spond.

While Groe­newald fin­ished with mo­men­tum, Da Silva didn’t have the flu­ency of the first two rounds. He was left to rue a poor tee shot on the penul­ti­mate hole. He stood on the 185m, par-three 17th with a one-shot lead, af­ter yet an­other birdie on the par-five 16th. Two pars to fin­ish would have handed him the ti­tle, but he cru­cially dropped back to 16 un­der, and could only par the fi­nal hole.

Hen­nie du Plessis had ear­lier carded a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive 64 to also notch 16-un­der, and take his place in the play­off. Groe­newald took the good vibes from his ear­lier birdie in reg­u­la­tion, and made the same score to scoop the ti­tle, and end a tu­mul­tuous week in Port Ed­ward.

The sun, fit­tingly, did even­tu­ally peek out on the fi­nal morn­ing, and Groe­newald was able to bask in a vic­tory that had as much to do with skill as it had to do with per­se­ver­ance. Play­ers and of­fi­cials alike were tested this week, with all sorts of chal­lenges on and off the golf course.

-16 — V Groe­newald (won via play­off), D Fichardt, A Da Silva, H Du Plessis

- 15 — A Haindl

-13 — B Fol­lett-Smith, O Bekker

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.