It was 11 years, two months ago when rookie Daniel Greene blew a chance at Humewood Golf Club to win his maiden Sunshine Tour title. On a windy Saturday, he finally got that long-awaited maiden win in a play-off in the Vodacom Origins of Golf event there.
He finished that 2010 tournament with two double-bogeys in a row on 17 and 18 to let Ulrich van den Berg through the door, but this time, in tougher conditions, he dropped just one shot on those two holes with a bogey on the 18th as he and Tristen Strydom finished on five-under-par. That was one clear of Steve Surry of England, Christiaan Basson and Malcolm Mitchell.
In the end, Greene tamed the 18th as he and Strydom came up that famous fairway on the first extra hole. Greene made par, while Strydom was left rueing a poor finish in regulation play of his own. He made bogeys on 17 and 18, and a bogey in the play-off left Greene with a win in his 12th season on the Sunshine Tour, and a record that includes another top-10 finish at Humewood amongst 19 top-10s.
While conditions were playable through the first nine for the leading players, the wind got progressively stronger, and the last three groups had to fight squalling showers down the final two holes. Through it all, Greene kept his composure, perhaps thinking back to when he let it slip against Van den Berg. He made eagle on the 11th with a delightful approach which defied the wind to land delicately 12 feet right of the pin. Much of that impetus was robbed from him with bogeys on 13 and 14, but he picked up another birdie on 15.
In the end, his dropped shot on 18 was matched by Strydom, who wasted a golden opportunity to win as he was lying just off the green and decided to chip his third instead of putting. Getting the ball into the air on that elevated green was not a good play, and he paid the price.
The 2021 Rookie of the Year leader Mitchell showed resilience as he defied the conditions to finish level-par for the final round. He had ballooned out to four-over on the front nine, but he was bogey-free coming home in a gutsy display.
In 2010, Greene lost out on the Rookie of the Year award to Anthony Michael, whose second place in the Alfred Dunhill Championship put him over the top. But Greene has his victory now, and it was as richly deserved as it was poetic.