Ryan van Velzen claimed his third Sunshine Tour victory in 10 months when he won the Mediclinic Invitational by four shots in a dominant performance at Maccauvlei Golf Club on Sunday.
The 22-year-old carded a final round of 64 – his second 64 of the weekend – to finish on 25 under par overall, with Neil Schietekat taking second place on 21 under par following a closing 67.
LB Boshoff, Jason Roets, Jovan Rebula, Dylan Mostert and Yurav Premlall shared third place on 18 under par.
Van Velzen’s victory comes on the back of a strong summer where he challenged for the DP World Tour co-sanctioned Investec South African Open before finishing second, and also adds to his wins in the Limpopo Championship and the Bain’s Whisky Ubunye Team Championship last year.
But this latest triumph has surprised even him considering the long holiday he took before returning to competition again this week.
“I can’t explain it actually. I took a month off from the game and it just came back to me. I got better without practising,” he said.
Van Velzen was only one shot clear of Schietekat going into the final round and it was still a tight contest between the two over the opening holes despite his eagle on the 2nd. But five birdies, an eagle and only one bogey thereafter saw him pull away from the field.
“I hit the ball so well today and didn’t miss many fairways,” he said. “Before the final round my caddie and I set a target of 25 under par. That’s what we thought would be the winning total. Then we got to 26 under par and set our sights on 28 under, but then just finished the round off.”
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Van Velzen’s win is perfect timing as he now heads into a busy few weeks on the Sunshine Tour featuring tournaments co-sanctioned with the European Challenge Tour and the DP World Tour, and which has given him even bigger goals to aim for.
“I’m trying to win the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit delivered by The Courier Guy. That’s huge for me. To win that on the Sunshine Tour would be incredible because this tour is just so competitive. That’s my next goal.”
Photo: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour