Philip Geerts’ first victory in any Sunshine Tour-sanctioned tournament came in some dramatic fashion as the 28-year-old Italian needed a sudden-death playoff to see off Musiwalo Nethunzwi in the Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day tournament played at ERPM Golf Clun on Monday.
“It feels amazing to feel these feelings again after a few years,” said an emotional Geerts. “I’ve been waiting, and I’ve been doing a lot of good work for some time and it’s good to see things finally gelling together. This win means a lot to me.
“Many times I’ve thought of giving up, you know. I’m 28 and I lost my (Sunshine Tour) card after four years but I kept on reminding myself that I am good enough. I proved to myself that with resilience, patience and hard work, I can do good things. So, that was the trick for me; keep going. In good and in bad, just keep going with a good attitude.”
Both Nethunzwi and Geerts played some brilliant golf en route to their respective 68s and tied the top spot, one stroke clear of the chasing Gerard Pepler. Nethunzwi was first to go in sudden death – which was played on the par-four ninth – and he found the fairway with ease. Geerts followed and the result was the same. In what seemed to be a misjudgement of distance, Nethunzwi found the lake which protects the ninth green at ERPM, earning him a penalty stroke. Geerts got it into the green two-putted for par while Soweto’s Nethunzwi didn’t sink his par-putt, handing victory to Geerts.
“I have played this course so many times it almost feels like I’m playing automatically, sometimes,” Geerts said, explaining what his game plan looked like for the day. “But, obviously, the Sunshine Tour does great work with the pin positions. They were pretty tricky, so it was important to keep yourself on the right side. The greens were good and the putter was very warm today. I attacked the course with the right mindset and the putter was warm, so in one-day tournaments, that becomes important.
“One-days can be tricky sometimes because you will be tempted to play a little bit aggressively and that’s a problem for me. So, I just tried to treat it like any other tournament; just focus on course management, even if it’s a one-day. This gives me a lot of confidence going forward and I’m grateful to the Sunshine Tour for giving us these opportunities. First, it was the return of the (Altron) Big Easy Tour and now Blue Label has come given us this series.”
Nethunzwi will leave Boksburg with his head held high after his showing on Monday. The member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class is the leading player from that transformation-focused group, the others being Thabang Simon and Evans Vukeya (T4) and Dwayne Basson (T8).
By Matthews Mfubu (Fullpage Media and Communications)