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Golf | SA

Kok seals maiden IGT success at Irene



Dylan Kok stayed cool under fire and held off fellow Pretoria golfers Ruan Conradie and Paul Boshoff to lift his maiden IGT Challenge Tour title in the sixth event of the season on Wednesday.

Kok began the final round four off the pace from overnight leader Ruan Korb, but a birdie start set the rookie on the road to glory.

He produced seven more as he carefully navigated the course in seven-under-par 65. He secured his first victory on the country’s premier golf development circuit on 13-under 203, beating 2017 IGT Challenge Tour Money List winner Conradie and Boshoff by three shots.

Kok made three birdies on the bounce from the third to take the outright lead after Korb faltered at fourth and he never relinquished control.

“To have any kind of chance, I knew I had to make a lot of birdies early in the round,” said the 21-year-old Kok. “I hit it to four foot at the third, sunk a seven-footer at the fourth and hit it to a foot at the fifth. Once I got in front, I knew I had to stay patient and let the birdies take care of themselves. I had to play flawless golf with so many guys chasing.”

The rookie birdied both par fives around the turn and birdied the 12th. A bogey at 13 gave Boshoff and Conradie a glimmer of hope, but Kok had a three-shot cushion after a birdie at 17.

“I hit a lob-wedge to 15 foot and made the birdie putt at 12, but the bogey at the short hole came out of nowhere,” said Kok.

“I was on the left of the green and had quite a long first putt. I put a little too much pace on it and it ran 10 feet past and then I missed the return putt for par. I played textbook golf at the next three holes, because I knew I had a par five coming up.

“At 17, I picked up my last birdie to move to 13-under. Paul and Ruan were playing behind me. I had a three shot lead going down 18, so I wasn’t going to get fancy. I pulled my tee shot and finished short and just left of the greenside bunker. I chipped it to 15 feet and two-putted for par.”

The chasing pack did their best to reel in the clubhouse leader.

Conradie and Boshoff both made birdies at 17 to get to 11 under, but the pair needed eagles at the last to force the tournament into extra time. Conradie managed a birdie for 67 and Boshoff two-putted for par and 69.

“I played very solid,” said Kok. “I hit a lot of greens and I forced a lot of putts on the front nine. And I kept hitting good shots from tee to green on the back nine. Just the one three-putt. That was the only mistake I made today. I made a lot of birdies and they were all really good. I didn’t think some putts were going to go in, but they did and I kept it going.

With the victory, Kok moved to third in the 2018/2019 IGT Money Leaders ranking.

“I’m very relieved and pleased to win so early in the season,” said Kok. “I played a couple of IGT events last year while I still competed on the amateur circuit and I started playing fulltime in April when I turned pro.

“It a great feeling to get that first win under the belt. Hopefully I can keep playing good golf for the rest of the year, finish in the top 10 on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour and go to the next level on the Sunshine Tour.”

First round leader Thriston Lawrence carded 68 in the final round to finish fourth on 10-under, with Korb a further shot adrift after he closed with a 75. Gary Player School of 2018 members Musiwalo Nethunzwi (68) and Irvin Mazibuko (72) shared sixth on six-under with amateurs Caylum Boon (70) and Liam Labuschagne (72).

FINAL RESULTS:

203 - Dylan Kok 67 71 65

205 - Ruan Conradie 72 66 67, Paul Boshoff 69 67 69

206 - Thriston Lawrence 65 73 68

209 - Ruan Korb 65 69 75

210 - Musiwalo Nethunzwi 71 71 68, Caylum Boon AMA 68 72 70, Liam Labuschagne AMA 68 70 72, Irvin Mazibuko 68 70 72

211 - Jacquin Hess 70 73 68

212 - Breyten Meyer 71 72 69, Arno Pretorius 73 69 70, Otto van Buynder AMA 70 72 70, Allister de Kock 69 72 71, Gerhard Pepler AMA 69 71 72

213 - Ivanna Samu 71 72 70

214 - Thabang Simon 71 72 71, Mandla Jnr Dlamini AMA 74 68 72, Omar Sandys 73 73 68

215 - Peetie van der Merwe 72 71 72, Dwayne Basson 68 75 72, Armand van Dyk AMA 67 75 73, CJ Levey 73 69 73, Divan Marais 70 74 71, Derick Petersen 68 72 75, Franklin Manchest 70 75 70, Gary Daoust (BEL) 76 70 69

216 - Christopher van der Merwe AMA 71 72 73, Marco de Beer 74 68 74, Samual McKenzie AMA 75 69 72, Michiel Bothma 72 70 74, Stefan Wears-Taylor 70 75 71, Cameron Moralee 73 68 75, Keegan Mclachlan AMA 69 70 77, Stuart Smith (BOT) 75 71 70

217 - Jason Smith 70 74 73, Tokkie van den Berg 69 73 75

218 - Luke Brown 68 75 75, Conway Kunneke 72 72 74, Ruan Groenewald 69 73 76, Teboho Sefatsa 68 77 73, Karabo Mokoena AMA 70 72 76, Hendrikus Stoop 77 69 72

219 - Stals Swart AMA 69 76 74

220 - Makhetha Mazibuko 74 70 76

22 1 - Rupert Kaminski AMA 74 71 76, Keelan Africa 75 70 76, Blain Sansom 75 71 75

222 - Chase Paton AMA 71 72 79, Jason Diab 72 72 78

223 - Willie Olivier AMA 75 70 78, Keanu Pestana AMA 71 74 78

224 - Tyron Taylor AMA 72 74 78

226 - Clinton Grobler 71 71 84

227 - Richard Maree 71 75 81



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