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Golf | SA

Louis de Jager © CJ du Toit

De Jager goes wire to wire in Centurion



Triple Sunshine Tour winner Louis de Jager shut out any doubt about his return to form when he put together the week's most impressive performance to close out a 12 shot victory in the Centurion Challenge on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old Els Club Copperleaf golfer racked up nine birdies in a flawless display at Centurion Country Club to break an 18 month winning drought with his fourth IGT Challenge Tour title.

In a scintillating display of pin-seeking approach shots and long range putting, De Jager outclassed the chasing pack to triumph with a winning total of 21-under-par 195.

Dainfern amateur Dean Martin and Callum Mowat from Modderfontein had to settle for joint second at nine under 207 after posting respective rounds of 69 and 71.

De Jager slept on a four shot cushion, courtesy of an opening round of 68 and a bogey-free 64 in the second round.

The HPC Tuks Golf Academy player drained a 20-metre putt at the second to set the tone for his round. He added birdies at the third and the fourth holes and notches another trio of gains from 15 to open up a substantial gap on the field.

“When I holed that monster putt, I knew I could go low again,” said De Jager. “The rest of my birdies on the front nine were all within close range and I knocked in another one close at the first to start my back nine with a birdie, as well.

“I had a 10 shot lead at the turn. I haven’t always sustained the focus when I’ve had a big lead, so it was a really good exercise for me to stay in the moment until the last putt dropped.”

He reeled in five straight pars from the second to the fifth before he boxed birdie putts at seven and eight for his 63.

“It was great to pick up another pair of birdies just before the end of the round,” he said. “I kept my head in the game and didn’t just stir the ball after taking such a big lead. It’s just a pity I couldn’t convert for birdie at the ninth for another triple.

“The course was in great nick and the greens rolled really true. Th key to the win was two-fold; I read the greens really well and I’m striking the ball probably the best I’ve ever struck it in my golf career.”

The Lumenrock International Sports Management golfer began working on swing changes early last year with his coach Llewellyn van Leeuwen, but it wasn’t until a week ago that the pair discovered the last crucial element to the swing that destroyed the field this week.

“Lew and I found something and everything just clicked,” said De Jager. “I always come back to the IGT Challenge Tour to work on my game and to stay competitive during long breaks and somehow, it always pays off for me.

“I plan to compete on the European Challenge Tour in about two months, so hitting this kind of form right now is very encouraging. I scrambled well where I needed to and played 36 holes without dropping a shot; that’s the kind of game you want to take abroad.”

De Jager said he had a good reason to try to win this week.

“My son Luca is 19 months old and a very busy bee,” he said. “My wife and I agreed that if I won this week, we would buy our son a trampoline to help expend all that energy. Can’t wait to go shopping tomorrow.”

FINAL SCORES

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:

195 - Louis de Jager 68 64 63

207 - Dean Martin AMA 73 65 69, Callum Mowat 70 66 71

208 - Kyle Barker 68 68 72

209 - Ruan Conradie 74 66 69

210 - Andrew Williamson AMA 71 69 70

212 - Luke Brown AMA 71 69 72, Paul Boshoff 71 68 73, JP Cooper AMA 71 66 75

213 - Estiaan Conradie 71 70 72

215 - Brett Berman AMA 72 70 73

216 - Mpho Mafishe 71 72 73, Divan Marais 68 74 74

217 - Bryce Myburgh 72 73 72, Eric Nel AMA 69 75 73, Ivanna Samu 71 73 73, WM Coetzee AMA 73 70 74

218 - Ruan Korb 77 69 72, Donald Thompson AMA 71 77 70

219 - Matthew Vogel 76 70 73, Jaco van der Merwe AMA 75 72 72, Ruhan van Dijk AMA 77 71 71

220 - Louis Albertse AMA 74 71 75

221 - Thabi Ngcobo 72 74 75, David McIntyre AMA 75 70 76

222 - Armand van Dyk AMA 73 74 75, Tudor Bismark (ZIM) 72 72 78, Dougie Meijer 77 73 72

223 - Nicholas Wolak AMA 77 72 74, Marc de Jager AMA (ENG) 78 71 74, Mohit Mediratta AMA (KEN) 77 72 74

224 - Andre van Heerden AMA 79 72 73

225 - Slade Pickering AMA 72 74 79, Matthew Hands AMA 78 71 76, Ryan Wingrove AMA 75 75 75, Deon Bredenkamp 73 78 74

226 - Nicklas van Wyk AMA 75 74 77

227 - Marcus Smal AMA 73 78 76

228 - Ricardo Towell 78 71 79, Eric Wower AMA 74 76 78, Terry Smith 77 75 76

229 - Nicol Kromhout AMA 74 71 84, Cameron Gunning 76 75 78

230 - Simon Kruger 75 74 81, Hendrikus Stoop AMA 78 74 78

232 - Milton Maloon AMA 78 75 79

233 - Lydon Charnley AMA 78 73 82

234 - Alex Krebs AMA 77 75 82

235 - Michael Schutz 78 73 84



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