Hasn’t he won enough, asked someone after Vaughn Groenewald carded a six-under-par 66 on Saturday to win the R700,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Arabella Country Estate.
Well, no. It was only the fifth win of a Sunshine Tour career that stretches back to 1995, and it was achieved at the expense of Stefan Engell Andersen, who fired a brilliant seven-under 65 to finish one shot back from Groenewald on eight-under 208.
‘That’s why we play – we want to win,’ said Groenewald. ‘I’d like to win every week if I could. That would be great. I feel bad for Stefan. He played well with seven birdies and an eagle today. It’s a pity, but his turn will come.’
Groenewald started like a man late for an appointment with the trophy engraver: He made three birdies in his first four holes. A bogey on the sixth checked his momentum momentarily, but he birdied the ninth to turn in three-under 33.
Three more birdies on his homeward nine was enough to edge clear of Engell Andersen and give him the victory which means so much to him. ‘It’s amazing. Even when I phoned my Dad after I finished, I started crying,’ said Groenewald. ‘I’ve been close this year in a couple of tournaments, leading, and I’ve messed it up, so today was good.’
Engell Anderson started with a bogey, but he quickly rectified that with an eagle three on the second. He made three more birdies to the turn, interspersed with a bogey on five, and then he poured it on through the homeward nine. Three birdies from 12 to 14, and then a closing one on 18 saw him pump his fist and go to the clubhouse to see if Groenewald would falter.
He didn’t. The man who got his nickname ‘The Boom’ for his ability to make big putts – in terms of distance and pressure – made a beauty of a 30-footer on 14 to go to nine-under. ‘When I saw the leaderboard on 15, I just tried to make pars on the way home,’ he said.
He managed that, but not without some real pressure: He made a teasing little slider from six feet on 17, and then he knocked it in from seven feet for par on the final hole. ‘I was a bit tense when I hit my chip on 18 so far past,’ said Groenewald, ‘but it was a good one to make.’
And it’s given him a boost of confidence, too. ‘I’ve got a title defence at the Wild Coast next week. Just after winning, I normally win again – that’s what I want to do.
He clearly is not done winning…