• Highs and lows

    Hennie du Plessis
    Oh so close at the Wild Coast

    Another week of progress as I just missed out on a big win.

    I really enjoyed last week’s tournament at Wild Coast – things came together well for me and even though I ended up losing in a playoff, I am still really pleased with my form.

    I feel like I have improved with each week that I have been back and that the hard work is paying off. It puts me in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the season, particularly when I head off to European Tour Qualifying School.

    I’m still not sure which Stage of Q-School I will be playing – I hear this week if I need to start at First Stage, or if my Sunshine Tour ranking gets me straight into Second Stage.

    Either way, I know that I still have to perform at my very best to make it to the next stage and, ultimately, the European Tour.

    Back to the Wild Coast, it was amazing that we even managed to have a tournament there. Never mind the greens that were dug up, we also had to contend with weather delays, so hats off to the Sunshine Tour and the Wild Coast Sun staff for making it happen.

    I’m pleased to report that my putter was working well this week – any time you shoot 20 birdies in three rounds you know the putter is on fire. I expected to do well this week because I enjoy the Wild Coast course. The greens can sometimes be a little bumpy, so it rewards good ball strikers who are able to hit it close. And of course, I managed to sink some putts.

    I started the final day a few shots back of Adilson da Silva, but I made birdies on the 1st , 2nd , 7th , 9th and 10th to close the gap. When I made another birdie on the 12th , I was co-leading – although guys were going low so I knew I couldn’t stop charging.

    When I got to the final hole, I knew that I needed a birdie to get into a playoff. My caddie just handed me the driver and said, ‘Bomb it.’ Maybe it was the adrenalin, but I really caught it, and it ran through the fairway. Luckily, I was left with a perfect sandwedge distance to the pin and I knocked it to six feet for a final birdie.

    The playoff was exciting. I was up against three real veterans of the tour in Adilson, Vaughn Groenewald and Darren Fichardt. I’m a big fan of Darren’s, so it was nice play with and against him – but I definitely felt like I was the underdog in that situation, so I had nothing to lose.

    On the first playoff hole, I hit my approach a bit beyond the pin and my birdie putt just stopped turning and went over the edge of the hole. Vaughn sunk his and the rest is history.

    The Tour stays on the South Coast this week but I’ve come home, as I need to prepare for Q-School.

    I’m also going to test out the new Cleveland RTX-3 wedges this week – I spotted them in Merrick Bremner’s bag and I can’t wait to try them out. They look incredible.

    I’ll have let you know how they feel next week.

    Photo: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

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