Lali Stander –
CAPE TOWN, 24 July 2015 – One has to forgive Southern Cape’s Heinrich Bruiners for fleetingly feeling like Floyd Mayweather facing Wladimir Klitschko as he stood opposite Peter Karmis at the first play-off hole for the IGT Cape’s Westlake Classic title on Friday.
Earlier, Karmis carded a four under 68 to set the clubhouse target at seven-under-par 209, but Bruiners forced the 54-hole event at Westlake Golf Club into overtime when he returned a 69.
Most players would be just a tad intimidated to face a man who owns titles on two world Tours and who shares a record round of 59 with just a handful of players worldwide.
But Bruiners, whose career was nearly destroyed by injuries after a car accident in 2010, has overcome a lot of stacked odds in his lifetime.
“I live by a simple motto,” the George golfer said. “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm. I have a lot of respect for Peter’s achievements, but in that moment he was just another player.”
The pair squared the par-four first hole in pars, but Bruiners clinched his second professional title with a brilliantly executed chip-and-putt at the par-four second.
“I chipped it to an inch and Peter ran his first putt about eight feet past the hole,” Bruiners said. “I knew this was the proverbial open door.
“I tapped in to put pressure on him and he responded with a great putt, but it lipped out on the right. If that putt dropped, we would probably still be out there.”
Bruiners carded successive rounds of 70 to start the final round one off the pace from Drikus Bruyns.
“The second round was suspended because some of the greens became waterlogged and Drikus and I were tied for the lead at four under,” Bruiners said.
“I bogeyed the 14th after we restarted and got the shot back with a birdie at the 18th, but I prayed the weather would hold so we could complete the final round.
“I have been knocking over the last couple of events and I really wanted to win this one.”
Bruiners bogeyed the first hole and found himself three shots off the pace through five holes.
“I told myself I needed to make something happen,” he said.
“I closed the gap with back-to-back birdies at seven and eight and holed a 25-footer for birdie at the 10th to get some nice momentum.
“It was tough to control the ball over the back nine, because the wind was really pumping. I knocked I another 10-footer for birdie at 15 and parred my way home to tie Peter after he bogeyed 18.”
Christiaan Basson had a chance to join the play-off at seven under, but he bogeyed the closing hole for 70 to take third on his own.
Bruiners picked up the R10,000 winner’s cheque from The House of Machines, but said the victory meant much more than money in the bank.
“I had to change from a long putter to the short version and everyone at home laughed because I called this new putter The Sheriff,” Bruiners said.
“It has been a major adjustment for me, but playing the IGT Cape Tour events gave me a chance to test the short putter in competitive play. This win has given me a lot of confidence in my putting stroke. Now I can go back to George with the proof that there is a new sheriff in town.”
TOP 10 RESULTS
209* Heinrich Bruiners 70 70 69 (*2nd play-off hole)
209 Peter Karmis 74 67 68
210 Christiaan Basson 72 68 70
212 Keenan Davidse 76 67 69; Drikus Bruyns 71 68 73
216 Matthew Kent 73 68 75
218 Jean-Paul Strydom 75 70 73
219 Sean Bradley (AMA) 77 72 70
221 Dwayne Basson 78 74 69
222 Alex Gaugert USA 78 73 71
ABOUT THE IGT TOUR
The IGT Challenge Pro Tour launched in 2010 and has fast grown into South Africa’s premier developmental golf tour, offering a tailor-made gateway for amateurs aspiring to join the pro ranks.
The IGT Challenge Pro Tour Gauteng, KZN and Cape provides significant financial opportunities and incentives, and statistical feedback with a full playing schedule of 64 events (36-hole, 54-hole and 72-hole tournaments) that enables its members and non-members to perform at a high level in a strong competitive environment.