JC Ritchie’s defence of the Limpopo Championship this weekend had multiple spin-offs after the event joined forces with the Challenge Tour.
Primarily, adding the winner’s cheque of €35,957.35 (R59,923) to his season earnings will no doubt ensure a wide grin when he wakes up on Monday. But the 25-year-old has many more reasons to smile.
‘It feels really awesome to win this week,’ he said. ‘After winning last year, to come back and win it again just feels unbelievable and I don’t think it has started to sink in yet.
‘To have the Challenge Tour players coming to play the event this year definitely made defending the title harder and I found myself getting rather nervous on my back nine, but I was able to keep it together well.
‘I feel like I played the best golf I possibly could have played this weekend and I don’t really feel like I could have played any better out there today. To play bogey free over the weekend is crazy good golf, especially with the conditions over the last few days, which were tough.
‘I’m planning to head over to Europe to play some events on the Challenge Tour this year. First, though, I think there is quite a party waiting for me at home.’
Ritchie now sits in 124th position in the latest Official World Golf Ranking – a jump from 161 last week to further bolster his year starting position of 175.
Only Louis Oosthuizen (14), Erik van Rooyen (49), Shaun Norris (58), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (60), Branden Grace (69), Justin Harding (88) and Dylan Frittelli (116) rank above him.
Closer to home, he is now the effective leader on the Order of Merit edging past Jaco Ahlers into top spot. Daniel van Tonder and Thriston Lawrence are third and fourth, with only a few events to play.