Mark majestic at Tour Championship
Mark Williams shot a superb 67 at the Els Club, Copperleaf on Friday to claim the Big Easy Tour Championship by two strokes.
“I just tried to keep playing solid. The win means a lot – I played nicely on the Big Easy this year, but I haven’t been able to finish strong enough – this gives the belief that you can come out and win,” he said.
The Zimbabwean was in a class of his own around the 7360-metre track, and singed-in without a drop on the card after outstripping overnight leader Teboho Sefatsa.
“It was a big help today to have my old man caddieing for me,” said Williams. “He played on the European Senior’s Tour for a couple of years, so it was good to have someone a bit wiser than me on the bag. I have a tendency to think a bit too much, and he kept me clear so that I could just play my shots.”
The 54-hole season finale put the professionals through their paces, and by the close of Friday only eight players had finished below the par mark. Williams, however, broke par during every round at The Els Club en route to his seven-under-par total.
“It feels great. I’ve been playing nicely for a while and I’m starting to find a bit of consistent form. That’s a good thing heading into the big events this season. This week I just played really solidly,” he said.
The 28-year-old burnt through the back nine in 32 strokes, finding his groove after draining a long one at the 14th.
“When I made the birdie on 14 it got my momentum going. I sank a 20-footer there and knew I had some chances coming home. Once you see one go in you feel like you can make anything,” he said.
At the beginning of the year Teboho Sefatsa was one of four players to pick up an endorsement from Sun International. The sponsorship is centred around golf development within the Big Easy Tour. With the financial stress of his shoulders, Sefatsa had a superb season and made cheques at all but one of his Big Easy tournaments.
By the close of the Tour Championship on Friday he lifted the Order of Merit title, a just reward for playing quality golf throughout the year.
“Consistency has become my thing,” he joked. “And overall I’m chuffed with my performance. I’m going to try and better this with some results on the main tour. It hasn’t hit me yet, I’m still out there on the course right now. I guess that when I get home it will sink in, but for now I’m still surprised,” said Sefatsa.
Sun International’s Sport Sponsorship Manager, Leedam Vercellino, said the group was incredibly proud of Sefatsa’s achievements and that his results were signs that investing in golf yields results.
“At Sun International we’ve got a huge got a huge affinity with golf, although it’s our first year into golf development. We met with Selwyn Nathan (the Sunshine Tour’s Executive Director) and developed a system using money from the Nedbank Golf Challenge gate fees. It’s great to see someone like Teboho (Sefatsa) achieve this. He’s been so solid all year, and it’s great to see him win the Order of Merit. It’s fantastic to see what these development players are capable of without constant financial stress,” he said.
Sefatsa echoed the sentiment, adding: “It would have been nice to cap it off with a Tour Championship win, but I’ve got to be thankful that I’ve played so well this season and that I won the Order of Merit. It makes a huge difference having less worries about my earnings, and now I can go out there and really go for it.”
209 - Mark Williams 71 71 67
211 - Teboho Sefatsa 70 69 72
213 - Daniel Hammond 72 75 66, Johan Bekker 73 71 69, Ross Wellington 70 73 70, Riekus Nortje 71 69 73
214 - Wynand Dingle 75 71 68, Tyrone Ryan 70 71 73
217 - Mikhail Tewary 75 73 69, Andre van Zyl 73 73 71, Graham van der Merwe 75 71 71
219 - Jared Harvey 77 76 66, Attie Schwartzel 75 75 69, Coenie Stoop 75 69 75
220 - Thabo Maseko 73 76 71, PG van Zyl 75 72 73
221 - Drikus van der Walt 72 77 72, Francois Coetzee 67 76 78
222 - Coenie Bester 76 74 72, Jeff Inglis (ENG) 72 74 76
223 - Pieter Moolman 73 80 70, Thomas Lovett 73 79 71, Stuart Clark (WAL) 71 77 75, Michael du Toit 74 74 75
225 - Michael Hollick 76 77 72
226 - Divan Gerber 71 80 75
227 - Thabang Simon 72 80 75
228 - Beyers Smith 70 83 75
229 - Irvin Mazibuko 74 77 78
231 - Martin du Toit 79 82 70