Sunshine Tour

Consistent Haindl reaps St Francis victory as reward

Alex Haindl (Gallo Images)
Alex Haindl (Gallo Images)

St Francis Bay - Alex Haindl underlined his 2018 consistency on the Sunshine Tour on Saturday with a come-from-behind one-stroke victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at St Francis Links.

He carded a final-round of five-under-par 67 to finish on 12-under for the 54-hole tournament, just ahead of 36-hole leader Neil Schietekat, having started four shots back.

Schietekat shared second place with Jake Roos.

“This is a golf course I’ve always wanted to win on, so this is a little bit more special,” said Haindl.

“I played nicely the whole week, and I’ve been playing quite well the whole season, so it’s good to get a win in.”

The victory caps a year in which he has already finished inside the top 10 six times, including in a share of second at the season-opening Zanaco Masters in Zambia in April, and in last month’s Sun City Challenge.

“The win proves to me that I am working on the right things and my game is moving in the right direction,” said the player who perhaps works harder on his game than just about anyone on tour.

“I just need to keep on going in that direction. That’s the important thing.”

His victory started looking likely during his front nine during which he made four birdies in a row from the fourth to the seventh. Birdies on 12 and 13 took him three shots clear of the chasing pack at that stage, and he seemed set to cruise home.

However, he missed two short birdie chances in 16 and 17, and then dumped his approach to 18 in a green-side bunker and was unable to get up and down for a closing par.

“I started kind of slowly,” he said.

“I kept giving myself chances and missing putts, and I ended up obviously making a few. I missed a two-footer for birdie on eight which hurt a bit. But I kept going and gave myself chances.

“Down the stretch, I hit the ball really nicely and gave myself quite a few chances, but nothing went in. On 16, I didn’t hit a great putt. On 17, I had a three-footer and the thing swung about two cups, which was unbelievable.

It was unfortunate on 18, but that’s okay. I hit a great approach and the wind just died on me.”

Schietekat’s push for victory ran aground on the rocks of a double-bogey on the par-three fourth and a bogey on the par-five sixth, while Roos had bogeys on two and four to blame for not getting up for the win.

For Haindl, the victory means a climb to second on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit behind the early front-runner Justin Harding, who is concentrating on his new-found successful Asian Tour career.

But it was also about the pleasure of playing for Haindl.

“I had fun this week,” he said.

“I played with Neil in the first two rounds and we always enjoy playing together. We usually play quite well together too! It was unlucky for him on the last hole.”

Scores:

204 - Alex Haindl 68 69 67

205 - Jake Roos 69 68 68, Neil Schietekat 68 65 72

208 - Jaco Ahlers 68 72 68, Daniel Greene 68 70 70, Titch Moore 66 70 72

209 - Jacques P de Villiers 75 66 68, CJ du Plessis 66 71 72

210 - Steven Lecuyer 69 73 68, Andre Nel 69 70 71

211 - Herman Loubser 70 73 68, Doug McGuigan 68 70 73

212 - Wallie Coetsee 69 73 70, Anton Haig 70 72 70, Jean Hugo 69 71 72

213 - Hennie Otto 67 74 72, Andrew Curlewis 69 72 72, Vaughn Groenewald 72 73 68, Jacques Blaauw 70 75 68

214 - Merrick Bremner 71 71 72, Chris Cannon 70 73 71, Thriston Lawrence 70 73 71, Luke Jerling 76 68 70

215 - Keenan Davidse 69 73 73, Peter Karmis 68 74 73, Colin Nel 67 74 74, Pieter Moolman 77 69 69

216 - Ulrich van den Berg 68 70 78

217 - Callum Mowat 75 70 72, Estiaan Conradie 77 69 71, Jake Redman 71 66 80, Louis Albertse 70 76 71, Hayden Griffiths 72 74 71

218 - Steve Surry 68 74 76, Hennie du Plessis 72 68 78, Chris Swanepoel 72 71 75

220 - Franklin Manchest 76 66 78, Jade Buitendag 70 73 77, James Kamte 71 72 77, Jonathan Agren 67 72 81

221 - Desne Van Den Bergh 66 73 82, Ruan Conradie 72 73 76

222 - Daniel van Tonder 71 74 77

223 - Derick Petersen 73 73 77

224 - Teaghan Gauche 74 72 78

225 - Allan Versfeld 72 74 79

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