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Golf | SA

Minnie claims first Pro Tour title



South Africa's Herman Minnie claimed his first Pro Tour Title after winning the Irene Challenge at the Irene Country Club on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old finished on 12 under par with rounds of 69, 65 and 70.

Minnie captained the Gauteng-North main side for two years as an amateur and in June 2012 decided to play full time on the ITG Pro Tour as a professional.

Day one saw the players coming of twice for thunder warnings but this did not affect Rae Mackie who took the lead with a superb 4-under-par 68 followed by Minnie, Otto van Greunen and Christiaan Pretorius on 3-under-par 69.

On day two Zimbabwe's Sheldon Steyn set the tone by shooting a brilliant 8-under-par 64. This was followed up by a 7-under-par 65 by Zander Lombard and Minnie with nine players on 4-under-par.

Minnie started day three with a lead of two shots over Sheldon Steyn and after eight holes Steyn was leading with Minnie a further two shots behind. Minnie, however, had other plans and going down 13 had a one shot lead over Lombard. The turning point was on the short par-three 16th hole when Lombard three-putted and Minnie made his par to have a two-shot lead with two holes to go.

His stunning five-iron shot to within 12 feet of the hole at the par-five 17th hole, where he missed his eagle put to make birdie, gave him a two shot lead going down the final hole.

While the ex Gauteng-North player went on to win his first Pro Tour title, he also climbed to the top of the Rhode Island challenge for February to win Golf apparel worth R4 000.

"I joined the GFG Academy in September 2012 and was struggling for four months with my golf going into Sunshine Q-School in January 2013. With dedicated guidance from my coach, Graeme Francis, I started working really hard at my game, and the results are starting to show. Graeme helped me the whole way and a part of the win is because of him," Minnie said.

"The win at Irene boosted me a lot and I hope to continue on this route."

"It's nice to be back in the winning circle," he said. "It is a big relief. It's been a wait, but I'm definitely still young, and hopefully this opens the door to many more. But it's nice to be mentioned as a Pro Tour winner," Minnie concluded.

Click here for final scores

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