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‘FRESHIE’ DOESN’T STOP BEKKER VICTORY IN LUSAKA

He had a fresh air on the fourth, but Oliver Bekker kept plugging away on Sunday and a birdie on the 17th at Lusaka Golf Club sealed the deal for him in the Zambia Sugar Open. Source : Sunshine Tour

He carded a one-under-par 72 at to come away with his fifth Sunshine Tour victory in six years, and he had to hold off a determined Jared Harvey, who came with a late run and finished in second place, two shots back on 17-under for the tournament.

Although Bekker finished on a total of 19-under-par for the tournament, he struggled on the final day, carding two bogeys and one double-bogey mixed with five birdies.

“I hit my ball behind a tree on the fourth,” said Bekker. “I tried to backhand it out, but I missed it completely. Luckily, I made birdies at the fifth and the sixth to pull things back.

“I never really got it going. I made a couple of good putts for birdie, and I had a fresh air, I had some snap hooks…a bit of everything today. The nerves were definitely there and I’m just happy I pulled it off,” he said after his round.

And when he got to his favourite stretch of the course – the 10th to the 14th – he managed just two birdies and a bogey, which was not a particularly favourable return considering he was 11-under-par through those holes on the first two days and three-under in the third round.

Harvey eagled the 10th and 13th holes to put pressure on Bekker, however, a birdie at the 17thsealed the deal for Bekker.

“I really felt I needed to do something,” said Bekker, “and I hit a great approach to three feet there. Jared hit it to seven feet, and luckily for me, he missed his putt and I made mine.

“He played great golf today. It was just that some of his putts didn’t go in, and they so easily could have. That’s the way the game goes.”

It was a good reward for Bekker who has been playing well lately. “I was thinking about giving up for a while last year, and then, out of nowhere, I had a win in Sun City,” he said. “Then I had some good finishes in the co-sanctioned events at the beginning of this year, and I was in contention in the Dimension Data.”

He started the 2017-18 Sunshine Tour season with an impressive third place behind winner JC Ritchie, and then came the Lusaka win.

Behind Van Tonder, Danie van Tonder showed he is approaching his best again in third, three shots behind Bekker, while 2013 champion Adilson Da Silva finished fourth a further shot back. Christiaan Basson and Keenan Davidse shared fifth.

 

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