Not even a double-bogey on the 16th hole on Wednesday could stop Vaughn van Deventer from pulling off a three-stroke victory for his maiden professional title in the IGT Chase to #3 Reading on the par-71 Reading Country Club.
Despite the late stumble, Van Deventer had done enough to hold off the charge from South Africa’s number one amateur Casey Jarvis. Van Deventer carded a three-under 68 to keep the three-shot edge he took into the final round, while Jarvis’ five-under 66 feel short of giving him a second IGT title in two weeks.
“I looked at a leaderboard, and saw someone at nine-under,” said Van Deventer. “I had a feeling it was Casey, and I knew I had t get clear of him. I hit a good drive on 14 to make par there and extend my lead. I also made birdie on the par-three 15th, and that made me feel more comfortable.
“But then I hit my drive into the trees on the 16th to make double there. At that stage, I felt that making a par-par finish would be enough, and that proved to be the case,” he added.
That simple approach was what got Van Deventer through a tense final round. “My play was very good this week,” he said, “and I just concentrated on my game plan of getting it onto the fairways and greens. And, unlike yesterday, I didn’t have any three-putts. With the wet conditions, the greens were a little slower, so it made any downhill putts easier.”
Jarvis chased hard, making an eagle on the 12th and birdies on the 10th and 14th on his homeward nine, but he couldn’t pick up any more gains to be in a position to take advantage of Van Deventer’s double on 16.
First round leaders Yurav Premlall and Samuel Simpson – also amateurs – fired rounds of 69 and 70 respectively to take up the third and fourth positions, and Kyle McClatchie was fifth after a closing 67.
Matt Saulez and women’s professional Casandra Hall shared sixth spot, 12 shots back from Van Deventer.
“It’s great to get my first win,” said Van Deventer. “It gives me confidence for the rest of the season, and I might try my hand at qualifying for the Sun City Challenge on the Sunshine Tour.”