Former GolfRSA squad member Kyle McClatchie became the third graduate of that developmental structure to win a professional tournament this week after his play-off victory in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour Chase to the Sunshine Tour #25 handed him his third win of the season on Wednesday.
With Garrick Higgo claiming his win in the Canary Islands on the European Tour and Wilco Nienaber getting his breakthrough win on the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour, McClatchie’s win is a pleasing sight to those who have vested interests in GolfRSA and its work.
He had laboured to a one-under 71 on day two in an attempt to back up his brilliant opening round of 66 which saw him tied for the lead on day one in Boksburg – resulting in the resurgent Ricky Hendler snatching the lead at 11-under, followed by Casey Jarvis at 10-under while Ryan van Velzen played himself to solo third at nine-under. McClatchie was four shots off the pace at the start of the final round.
Knowing he had some ground to cover, McClatchie got to work, birdieing the first and third holes and giving nothing away in a bogey-free front nine. A birdie on 10th showed signs of a man patiently waiting for his opportunities in a very competitive environment. That patience paid off once more, on the par-five 13th, where McClatchie made an eagle and pushed himself into contention. He made another birdie on 17 to seal a sparkling round and force himself into a play-off with Van Velzen who also finished at 13-under-par 203 in regulation.
“Yesterday wasn’t my best,” he admitted, “but I did some work with the coach and that got me back on track. Throughout the day, I just stuck to my ways and didn’t look for too many leaderboards because that wasn’t going to change what I was trying to do out there.”
That level of focus landed him in a two-man play-off with Van Velzen who turned pro recently and has already tasted victory as a pro – albeit on another circuit – and McClatchie won it in the third play-off hole.
“It’s always nice to win in a play-off; a little nerve-wracking but nice. After the third time, Ryan made a mistake and I capitalised, that’s golf. It was a good week and I’m pleased with the way I played and the results. It shows that all my hard work is paying off. I just want to keep going and try to win more and play as best as I possibly can. That’s the goal.”
With this win, McClatchie has now moved to the summit of the Chase To the Sunshine Tour standings as the season is drawing to its inevitable end.
By Matthews Mfubu