David McIntyre confirmed his status as one of the country’s promising talents when he defeated Dylan Dockerty in a sudden-death playoff to capture his second IGT Tour title in the Race to Q-School #3 at State Mines Country Club on Wednesday.
‘If I am brutally honest, it wasn’t a pretty final round; it was downright ugly,’ said the 20-year-old amateur from Eagle Canyon Golf Estate after edging out Dockerty at the first extra hole.
‘The playoff was just as messy, but I kept a cool head when it mattered the most. It was extremely windy out there and I thought I blew my chances at the start, but I kept positive. The belief that I could do it carried me to the finish line. I’m tired, but I am a very happy guy right now.’
McIntyre had the upper hand at 12 under par at the start of the final round, but squandered a two-shot advantage with a double bogey at the second and bogey at the third. Further drops at five and eight followed, but a birdie at the 10th delivered the kick he needed to hang tough. With the exception of another bogey at 13, he kept his card clean until he reached the final hole.
‘The conditions were tough and the slightest error led to a bogey,’ said the BDGA Academy golfer.
‘I really struggled on the front nine, but the birdie putt at 10 gave me back some momentum. I could see on the leaderboard that pretty much everyone was battling, so I knew I still had a chance if I kept my head down and kept grinding.’
Earlier Dockerty signed for a 69 to set the clubhouse target at eight under 208.
‘When I reached 18, I knew I needed a birdie to force a playoff, so I went for broke,’ McIntyre said. ‘I figured I had done myself proud this week and this was the time to go for it.
‘I took the driver and hit probably the best tee shot of the tournament straight down the fairway. I was just short of the green and I chipped to three feet and holed the putt, but my legs felt like jelly when I stood over that final putt.’
McIntyre and Dockerty headed to the 18th tee for a return trip down the par four.
‘Dylan hit an iron off the tee, but the wind got hold of it and his ball ended in the trees on the right,’ McIntyre explained. ‘I had my driver out again, but when I saw where he ended up, I switched to a four-iron. I wanted to hit a low shot and let the wind carry the ball to the middle of the fairway, but it didn’t come out as planned and I also ended in the trees.
‘Dylan had to punch out to the fairway, but I had a shot to the green. I hit a gap-wedge and the ball caught a branch and came up short in the greenside bunker. When Dylan’s approach hit the green and rolled off the back, I figured he would have a hard time making four from his position.
‘I aimed my trap-shot to the same spot I finished in regulation play and the ball finished six feet from the pin, but on the same line as in regulation play. When I saw the putt, I knew I had the win.’
The amateur’s second title on the country’s premier development Tour followed 15 months after his breakthrough victory at the BDGA Academy Classic at his home course, but hot on the heels of a runner-up finish in the IGT Tour’s Race to Q-School #2.
‘This is exactly when you want to start stepping it up,’ he said. ‘My goal for the 18 events in the Race to Q-School series was to put myself in contention as many times as possible so I could really test myself under pressure, playing in the front.
‘I’m really happy with my performances in the last two weeks and all I want to do now is to carry this momentum forward over the next couple of weeks until we break for the festive season.’
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as AMA
208 – David McIntyre AMA 67 65 76
208 – Dylan Dockerty 69 70 69
209 – Jonathan Waschefort 69 72 68, Bryce Myburgh 69 69 71, Paul Boshoff AMA 69 65 75
210 – David Ashley (ENG) 74 68 68, Gregg Blainey (ENG) 72 70 68
211 – Jacques de Villiers 70 70 71