A summer of golfing victories for Kingston

2008-02-18 00:00

PRETORIA — James Kingston capped the most memorable summer of his career with victory in the Vodacom Championship at Pretoria Country Club yesterday.

The Rustenburg professional followed up his win in December’s South African Airways Open with a two-stroke triumph in this event, producing a classic back nine charge to take the title.

With birdies at his final three holes, Kingston overtook Adilson da Silva and posted a 65 to win on 17 under par.

Da Silva closed with a 71 to finish second on 15 under. Andre Cruse and Brandon Pieters shared third place on 14 under par.

After taking the lead in the second round, Da Silva had done well to keep himself at the top of the leaderboard in the face of some strong challenges in the third round and for most of the final day.

But he began to lose his grip on the back nine yesterday, culminating in consecutive bogeys at holes 13 and 14, which opened the door for Kingston.

Kingston rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-three 16th to join Da Silva at the top of the leaderboard on 15 under par.

And as Da Silva rescued a par at 16, Kingston — playing ahead of him — rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on 17 to take the sole lead on 16 under par. He then birdied 18 to set the clubhouse target at 17 under.

Da Silva lipped out for birdie on 17 and then, needing an eagle on the last to force a playoff, pulled his drive into the left fairway bunker. He had to chip out onto the fairway and pushed his third into the rough right of the green on his way to making a par at the last.

With two major victories in the space of two months and his card on the European Tour secure for the next three years, this will be a summer to remember for Kingston.

“It’s been fairytale stuff,” said Kingston.” Winning the SA Open was probably the biggest achievement of my career, and it gave me a lot of confidence …”

Starting the final round four strokes behind Da Silva, Kingston said he never doubted his ability to catch the Brazilian.

This victory also earns Kingston a place in the lucrative World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational, where he is guaranteed a cheque.

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