Jaco Ahlers won his fourth Sunshine Tour title at the KCM Zambia Open in dramatic fashion, overcoming Jacques Baauw on the second play-off hole at Nchanga Golf Club.
‘I can’t really describe the emotions right now. I’ve had my fair share of play-offs and I’m glad I could get his one done as well,’ he said.
Ahlers started the final day two shots ahead of Blaauw, however a late charge of four birdies on the back nine from Blaauw saw the two players head down the 18th to decide the winner, both on 17-under-par for the tournament.
Both players made gutsy birdies on the first extra hole, however an uncharacteristic error from Blaauw saw him overshoot the green with his approach shot on the second extra play-off hole. Unable to get up and down, Ahlers lagged a first putt up to the hole for a tap-in par.
‘The emotions definitely crept up in the play-off. After I hit my second I didn’t really think I had a chance because Jacques has hit a few good chips from that distance. It worked out in my favour. You know he played well, we all played well this week. Well done to him as well and it’s been a good week,’ explained Ahlers.
Since moving down to George and starting a family, Ahlers has changed his mental approach to the game, and it’s a more relaxed approach that he says is paying off.
‘I think it’ll sink in when I get home. You know my wife been giving me some uphill and it’s motivated me to do well this week and we’ll definitely enjoy this together. You know, I’m going to have a serious holiday now and I can’t wait to get home and celebrate,’ said Ahlers.
‘Having those important people around me is so important. I’ve got a young family and it has really changed my life – especially after the birth of our second son. It’s just been great.’
Ahlers’ final round of one-under-par 71 was his first in the 70s after rounds of 68, 65 and 67, and the 33-year-old says the final day was a true test.
‘The week has been pretty tough, conditions wise. I’ve really been hitting it well the whole week and today wasn’t as good. Even so I kept it going and that’s what you have to do on this golf course. You really do grind and try keep it in play and that’s what I did I’m really happy with the result,’ explained Ahlers.
After a shaky start to the year with three consecutive missed cuts, it’s been hard work for the man from George.
‘It’s been hard work. After my Investec Cup win – the past year I’ve had a tough time. The work is paying off and I’ve had a few guys helping me out and I can’t really say anything else. It’s just a great feeling,’ said Ahlers.