Louis Albertse handled the pressure of chasing down his first Sunshine Tour title like a real professional on Saturday as he won the third leg of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series at Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate.
The 25-year-old began the final round with a share of the lead, and produced an impressive four-under-par 66 to finish on nine-under-par for the tournament and clinch victory by one stroke over CJ du Plessis (65).
But, as well as Albertse played, a bogey on the par-four 16th left him needing pars on the tricky last two holes of The Woods course. Albertse negotiated the elevation changes and water bordering the 18th green with aplomb.
“There are so many emotions, but it feels really good to have my first Sunshine Tour title,” he said after his wire-to-wire win, having shared the lead with veteran Brazilian Adilson da Silva after the first two rounds.
“It’s never easy to win and the last nine holes when you’re going for your first win is particularly tough, but I tried hard to stay in the moment. The bogey on 16 was a bit unsettling, but I knew I was still 100% in it. I had been playing nicely the whole day and all I could do was give it my best.
“I’ve been in Category 9 since I started on tour and I’ve worked really hard to get out of it, I always felt I was good enough to win. Now there are lots of things to look forward to, getting into big events now without any worries. I saw a couple of scoreboards on the way in and I knew CJ was playing well, which was a good thing in a sense because I knew I had to keep pushing and not play defensively.”
Albertse, who hails from Dundee in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, went out in two-under-par 33 and then made an ideal start to the back nine with a lengthy birdie putt on the 339-yard par-four 10th hole.
“I made a few good par-saves at the beginning but unfortunately took a six on the second par-five,” he said. “But I’ve been putting really well and the birdie on 10 was a massive bonus, that just makes sure you get into the right gear going into the downwind holes. I also made a really good save on 13 and then birdies on 14 and 15 [another long putt] kept the momentum going.”
Du Plessis’ five-under-par 65 started inauspiciously with a bogey at the first hole, but thereafter he did not drop a shot, collecting five birdies including four in five holes from the sixth. It is the Irene Country Club golfer’s fourth runners-up finish and he is yet to win a professional tournament.
Adilson da Silva was one shot off the lead when he made the turn, but returned to the clubhouse in level-par to finish on six-under-par, two behind Du Plessis and in the tie for third with Riekus Nortje and Deon Germishuys.