Rourke van der Spuy fought off nerves to sign for a three-under-par 69 to win his second Sunshine Tour title by four shots on Sunday at the Mopani Redpath Zambia Open.
‘I obviously felt a bit nervous today,’ he admitted.
‘I managed to hold my nerve and finish strong. It was a really good week from day one, and kind of built up the momentum all week. Started off with a solid round and the game kind of felt like it got better throughout the week.’
After rounds of 70, 67 and 66, Van der Spuy started the final round leading by two and wasted no time in emphasising his intentions at Nkana Golf Club. He opened with birdies on the first two holes but dropped a shot on the 6th. He then made two more birdies on the 7th and 9th to turn in 33.
He made an unwanted bogey at the 10th but swiftly recovered with a birdie on the par-three 11th. Two pars later, it looked like he was in trouble as he made back-to-back drops on the 14th and 15th. But, as it was the case in round three, Van der Spuy made an eagle on the 17th to finish the tournament on 16-under-par 272.
‘It was a good battle out there,’ he said of the duel he and Justin Harding had during the final round of the tournament. ‘It was very fun playing with Justin. He had a good run out there; I made a couple of bogeys and he made a couple of birdies and that was quite a momentum swing. But certainly, the eagle on the 17th two days in a row was a nice capping point for a really good week.’
Claiming his second tournament in three years, having claimed the Sun Fish River Sun Challenge in 2015, Van der Spuy admits this win has been in the making for a while.
‘The win at Fish River came in my first year and that was nice to get the monkey off my back. But you always get the feeling that the next one is close and to do it in a full four-round tournament is just a good feeling,’ he said.
He will now look forward to getting into tournaments with an exemption for the next couple of years.