In only his second Sunshine Big Easy Tour start, amateur Dylan Naidoo claimed his first win after carding rounds of 64 and 69 in the Big Easy Observatory event.
Naidoo – currently the country’s fifth-best amateur – beat a field of 109 professionals to seal an emotional first win on the professional circuit on 11-under-par.
‘I’m really excited about how I managed to win this tournament, you know played really well and to get my first professional win is something I’m really excited about,’ said Naidoo.
Leading the tournament after round one, Naidoo had the opportunity to play in the last group alongside Jeff Inglis and Eddie Taylor, and he says it’s an experience that he will never forget, and one which gives him confidence for the year ahead.
‘It really gives you a lot of confidence. I mean these guys are the future professionals on the Sunshine Tour, and there are other guys like Jeff Inglis who are on the Sunshine Tour. It gives me a lot of confidence knowing I can compete against these players,’ he said.
Even though Naidoo has claimed his first professional will so early in his career, he remains grounded and will look to the next challenge of playing college golf in America.
‘I think it’s each to his own with regards to how you perform in College. I think it has a lot to do with how you communicate with your support base back home and the college coach you have over there. The university that I have chosen – the University of Arkansas – its one that I’ve thoroughly researched and it’s one that I’m excited about,’ said Naidoo.
‘Long term, it’s still a while until I’ll be turning pro. I feel like I’ve got a lot of developing to do – physically and with my game – I think long term there are still quite a way for me to go,’ he added.
It was a composed final round from the 19-year-old, who carded five birdies, two bogeys and 11 pars around the Johannesburg layout.
‘To go down the stretch with guys that have been on tour – Jeff was telling me just now that he’s been on tour for 14 years – I was four years old when he went on tour. So it’s a really nice experience having guys like that support me and play against me in the tough circumstances. I really did enjoy it,’ he explained.
Naidoo’s closest challenger came in the form of Jason Viljoen, who finished on nine-under-par for the tournament after a final round 67.
Thanda Mavundla occupied sole possession of third place, while Mark Murless, Hennie du Plessis and Jeff Inglis shared fourth place on seven-under-par for the tournament.