Christiaan Maas closed with a birdie on Wednesday to hold off a strong challenge from fellow-amateur Casey Jarvis as he took the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour Chase to #6 Services by a single stroke.
Both players carded final rounds of six-under-par 66, with Maas ending the 54-hole event on 14-under. He was two strokes clear of the third-placed Dylan Kok, with amateur Karabo Mokoena in fourth on 11-under and multiple winner Vaughn van Deventer in fifth at 10-under.
“I was very nervous,” admitted Maas afterwards. “But, by the 13th or 14th, I knew it was between me and Casey. Then I made an eight-footer for birdie on 16 to go ahead, but Casey can come back at you. I left a 12-footer short on 17 so it was all about holding him off down 18.
“He hit his approach to the par-five about 20 feet left of the pin, and I hit mine just past the flag and it spun back off the green. I hit my next right on the edge of the holes, so I had a tap-in for birdie.”
It was a round punctuated by nine birdies for Maas, but the three bogeys he made were a source of frustration. “They were stupid mistakes when I made the drops,” he said. “I felt that especially after I made bogey on the seventh, where I three-putted from 15 feet.”
Besides that three-putt, he felt his putting was good throughout. “It was really only on the back nine today that I wasn’t able to get it going,” he said. “I was hitting my driver nicely, but, for the past couple of weeks, my irons have been horrendous with a big fade. But I got it back after Copperleaf.”
With Maas only playing on the tour only every second week – he’s at school on alternate weeks – he has performed nicely on the Order of Merit. The list is dominated by amateurs, with Jarvis topping it ahead of Vaughn van Deventer and amateur Yurav Premlall. Maas is in sixth spot.
The next tournament will tee off on Monday at Wingate Park Country Club in Pretoria.