Barker celebrates dramatic IGT win

[Friday, April 06, 2018 07:57:04]

Randpark’s Kyle Barker overhauled Sunshine Tour winner JC Ritchie to win his second IGT Challenge Tour title with a dramatic one shot victory in the season-opener at Killarney Country Club on Thursday.

Ritchie had started the final round with a three shot lead following a bogey-free second round 66.

He mixed two bogeys with a pair of birdies to remain at nine-under, but Barker produced a flawless opening loop and reduced the gap to just one shot with birdies at the first and fifth holes.

When Ritchie dropped two shots right after the turn, though, he gave Barker a foot in the door.

“I had a scary moment at the ninth, but I holed a great putt to save par and that really was the kicker,” said Barker, who closed with a two-under 68 to triumph on eight-under-par 202.

“Holing that putt gave me positive energy heading into the last nine holes. When JC hit it into the hazard at the 10th and I took the lead, I really felt that I could win. We both had birdies at 11 and made pars at 12 and 13. Then disaster struck.”

For two holes, it didn’t look like Barker or Ritchie wanted to win.

“First my tee shot at 14 got stuck up a tree or something and I had to declare a lost ball. JC took back the lead after my double bogey, but then his tee shot at 15 disappeared, too. He ended up making a bogey, but I drove it smack down the middle, hit 9-iron to five feet and holed for eagle.”

The three shot swing and pars at 16 and 17 by both players meant Barker stood on the 18th tee with a two shot lead.

“I hit a great tee shot at 18 and gap-wedge to 15 feet and then I made a three putt bogey,” said Barker. “I guess it was a day for firsts. First time I’ve ever lost a ball on a short hole First time I won with a bogey. I’m really pleased. I was hoping for a good week which I have managed to do. Hopefully I can take this form into the rest of the season. This sets the tone for my season.

“I went through a stretch after my win on the Mena Tour where I just didn’t enjoy the game anymore and that was kind of what got in the way at Q-School. I was disappointed to miss my card by two shots but you know, that’s what happens when you’re not ready.

“I made a few changes to my process and this week, I enjoyed myself for the first time in a long while. It was good to be playing in the last group again. I hit pretty solid, although a few more putts should’ve dropped. But overall, I am happy. With the week. With the result. It’s definitely nice to finish in the winner’s circle again and this gives me a lot of confidence for next week and the start of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour season. It’s great to find good form again.”

Ritchie closed with a two-over 72 slot into second on 203.

Joint first round leaders Gary Daoust from Belgium and Gary Player School member Makhetha Mazibuko finished third and fourth respectively. Daoust posted 69 to finish at five under and Mazibuko was a further two strokes adrift after a final round 70.

Final Result

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified; amateurs indicated as AMA.

202 - Kyle Barker 68 66 68

203 - JC Ritchie 66 65 72

205 - Gary Daoust (BEL) 65 71 69

207 - Makhetha Mazibuko 65 72 70

210 - Jaco Prinsloo 69 74 67, Estiaan Conradie 70 69 71, Arno Pretorius 71 68 71

211 - Michael Kok AMA 68 74 69

212 - Bennie van der Merwe 69 76 67, Keelan van Wyk AMA 70 68 74

213 - Duane Keun 70 72 71, Juran Dreyer 68 69 76

214 - Jacquin Hess 69 75 70

215 - Eric Nel 71 72 72, Altaaf Bux 69 71 75

216 - Musiwalo Nethunzwi 72 72 72, Michiel Bothma 72 71 73, Michael-James Steyn 71 71 74, Ruan Korb 68 71 77

217 - Ruan Groenewald AMA 68 77 72, Ruan Conradie 70 73 74

218 - Hendrikus Stoop 73 74 71, Romano Saincic 76 74 68

219 - Gianni Pera AMA 71 76 72

220 - Henning du Plooy AMA 72 76 72

221 - Sipho Bujela 75 71 75, Shalan Govender 70 77 74, Armand van Dyk AMA 70 81 70, Angus Ellis-Cole AMA 70 70 81

222 - Divan de Villiers AMA 77 74 71

223 - Quintin Crause 71 78 74

225 - Dylan Mostert AMA 75 75 75, Leon Vorster 73 77 75, Sean Rice AMA 77 75 73, Ricki Dembo 80 73 72, Rudolph van de Venter AMA 76 77 72, Basil Wright 73 80 72, Louis Botha 77 77 71

227 - Jancarel Rossouw AMA 78 73 76

228 - Neville Mitchell AMA 76 79 73

229 - Matthew Rossouw AMA 72 81 76, Keanu Pestana AMA 76 80 73

230 - Ricardo Towell 77 75 78

231 - Liam Clinton AMA 80 75 76, Jonathan Kotzen AMA 78 79 74

232 - Gary Jutzen AMA 76 78 78, Tyron Taylor AMA 79 77 76

236 - Duan Nagel AMA 77 76 83

WDN - Mpho Mafishe 81 76 WDN

    


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