Christiaan Bezuidenhout took another step towards stardom with a breakthrough victory on the Sunshine Tour on Friday, courtesy of an eagle on the stretch at Fish River Sun Country Club.
‘With 16 playing downwind, all I had to do was find the fairway,’ he said. ‘I hit a great three-wood down there and hit a seven-iron to about two feet and made the eagle. I told myself to just hang on at that point.’
Ernie Els wrapped his arms around Bezuidenhout and Brandon Stone at the SA Open earlier this year and announced ‘This is the future of South African golf.’
The Big Easy couldn’t have been more correct.
Bezuidenhout, fresh out of winning Sunshine Tour Qualifying School, finished second at his national open at Glendower Golf Club in January.
He picked up further top-10s at the Zimbabwe Open, Origins of Golf Wild Coast and Arabella, and finally got to hold a trophy this week with a final round of 70 at the coast.
‘I knew it was going to be tough when I saw the wind turn on us this morning,’ he said. ‘I knew I had to stay patient because there were going to be bad shots hit and bogeys made. So just kept myself going.’
The 22-year-old served a nine-month ban for using beta blockers as an amateur, which he took to quell his intense stutter. The unknowing youngster paid his dues and then proved it’s not doping, but raw talent that makes him so good.
He earned victory on Friday by holding off Danie van Tonder, who also shot 70 in the final round.
‘I had a good turn with birdies on eight and nine,’ said Bezuidenhout. ‘Then the stretch from 10 to 14 was as tough as I’ve ever played this course. I knew if I could get that out of the way with not too much damage, I’d be okay,’ he added.
The future sure is bright for Bezuidenhout, who ranks sixth on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and will play the rest of the season with nothing to lose.