Madalitso Muthiya of Zambia fulfilled the promise he has shown over the last three years on the Sunshine Tour on Saturday, with his maiden victory coming in the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament played at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.
He carded a wind-swept final round of four-under-par 66 to win at 11-under-par by two strokes from Hennie du Plessis and Ockie Strydom – and that gave him the winner’s share of R110,950, and a bosst to 37th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
‘I was very proud of myself,’ he said. ‘I stayed within the plan that I had when I started out the round, and I managed to play well enough on a very tough day.’
He not only played well enough to ward of the challenge of the runners-up, but he also held off a charge from Jean Hugo, who has won 11 times on the Vodacom Origins of Golf series. Hugo drew level with Muthiya at the 12th with a good birdie into the strong wind on the tough par-five, but a double-bogey five on the 13th put the kibosh on the chances of a 12th title for Hugo.
‘I had no clue what happened to him on 13,’ said Muthiya, who was playing in the group ahead of the veteran. ‘I made a clutch putt on 13, and another one on 16. I didn’t hit a good chip shot there and I holed out from 20 feet for birdie. I think that was probably the deciding moment for me.’
Just before Muthiya made that birdie, Du Plessis had used the wind from behind on the par-five 16th to reach the green in two, and his 12-foot eagle putt dropped to put him level with Muthiya for a while.
In the end, Du Plessis just missed out on taking second place on his own when he missed a short par putt on 18.
Strydom decided to try and drive the green on 18 in an attempt to make eagle and draw level with Muthiya. He finished up just short and right, overcooked his chip and settled for par.
Muthiya not letting himself get carried away with the win. ‘I’m obviously going to learn from it and try and carry the confidence forward,’ he said. ‘I want to build on the strengths I have and rectify the mistakes I made. But all in all, I think I handled myself pretty well, and that certainly applies moving forward.’