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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Neil Schietekat wins opening Sunshine Tour Event in Harare with composed 11 under

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Durban – Highly decorated Sunshine Tour golfer Neil Schietekat kicked off the 2023 campaign with a victory at the Royal Harare Golf Club in Zimbabwe, before heading off to Asia for his second tour.

Despite shooting 3 over 75 in the fourth round, Schietekat’s pin-point accuracy in the opening three rounds secured him a 7 shot lead on Sunday morning.

The 39 year-old who was educated and played early golf in KwaZulu-Natal, finished with a total 11 under 277, with Jacques P. de Villiers in second place – who carded a 4 under 68 to find his way to the top of the pack.

It was De Villiers’ highest placed finish on the tour.

After shooting a 67, 69 and 66 in the lead up to the final round, Schietekat said the nerves got to him a bit on Sunday. Having been in such a good position at 7 under, he said he “didn’t really know how to go about things”.

“I had some unlucky breaks out of the rough, but that’s been the same for everybody this week. But I made a couple of really good saves and par-putts,” he said.

The back 10 on Sunday proved a challenge, not just for Schietekat, but the entire field as well.

According to the Tour, hole 10 played the 3rd toughest hole for the week. Over 150 bogeys were played at it.

Schietekat also fell victim, carding a double-bogey on 10.

But after sinking a crucial and massive putt on the 14th, Schitekat found the momentum that helped him cruise past the rest of the field in the opening rounds, once again.

“I was bleeding on the back nine, starting on 10 where I hit a good shot off the tee but it just rolled into the water and I made double-bogey. But I made some clutch par-saves as well, especially on 14 where I sank a big putt. That settled everything and I knew that only I could lose it then. It feels really good that I managed to hang in there,” Schietekat said.

The win at Harare helped him secure his first victory on the Sunshine Tour since 2018.

The next stop on the Tour is the Zanaco Masters at Lusaka Golf Club, an 18 hole, Par 73 course in Zambia.

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