Ruan Korb won the Vodacom Origins of Golf St Francis Links tournament on Saturday.
Golf can be a terribly cruel game at times and while leader Ockie Strydom was busy racking up a quadruple-bogey eight at the par-four 11th hole, Korb was putting the finishing touches to his brilliant round of 63 by sinking yet another birdie putt on the final hole.
Korb’s third successive birdie, to go with two-in-a-row on the 12th and 13th holes, saw him shoot an astonishing nine-under par in the final round, leaving him on 13 under for the tournament.
Strydom had been on 15 under before the awful shock of his eight on the 11th, and thereafter he could only par his way through to the close, settling for a level-par 72 after being four under at the turn. That left the 37-year-old in second place on 11 under, two behind Korb.
Veteran Doug McGuigan also challenged for the title, but bogeyed the last two holes when pushing for birdies to tie Korb, with the 52-year-old closing with a 71 that left him on nine under and in third place for the tournament.
The 28-year-old Korb admitted that it was just one of those idyllic days when every putt he looked at, he seemed to sink.
“I really enjoyed myself out there today, the weather was better and my putting was definitely the main reason for my win, every putt just seemed to find the bottom of the cup,” Korb said. “My putting was certainly much better than when I finished second in the SunBet Challenge Time Square in August.”
The Silver Lakes golfer, who had begun the final round seven shots off the pace, had picked up decent momentum on the front nine with three birdies and a bogey in his first four holes, but he really began pushing for the title with a brilliant run in which he eagled the par-five 6th and then picked up shots at the next two holes.
He was now 10 under for the tournament and in striking distance, but his charge was reversed as he had a 15-minute delay at the 9th tee while the group in front searched for balls. Korb lost concentration and bogeyed both 9 and 10.
“I said before the round that if I could get to 14 under then I would have a chance, but waiting on the 9th was a bit of a momentum-breaker,” Korb said. “But after those two bogeys I just tried to get calm and said to my caddie that we have to do something now otherwise the win is going to get away from us.”
Knowing he had to be positive, Korb birdied both the par-four 12th and the par-five 13th into the westerly wind, and then, with holes 16 and 17 heading in the opposite direction, he took advantage with two more birdies.
The three on the par-four 18th was the icing on the cake for his second Sunshine Tour victory, his first coming at the Time Square Casino Challenge at Wingate Park Country Club in 2020.
“It’s a big confidence booster to win at this time of year, with the big summer events coming up,” Korb said.