5th July 2018 | Big Easy Tour
Brilliant Bright runs up Big Easy IGT double
It was double delight for Matt Bright, who intensified the battle for supremacy in the Road to the Sunshine Tour with back-to-back titles on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour at Centurion Country Club on Wednesday.
Just a week after he won the fifth event with a short game masterclass at Killarney Country Club, the 24-year-old Bright came from behind to win by one stroke with another magnificent final round production in Pretoria.
The young entrepreneur began the final round three strokes behind overnight leader Matt Rushton and was six off the pace after a bogey start and a further bogey at the par four sixth.
However a momentum boosting birdie at the par four ninth delivered the spark Bright needed to ignite a birdie feast down the home stretch.
He made three gains on the bounce from the 12th and finished birdie-birdie for a four-under 68 to triumph on 10 under.
“I am a die-hard; I never give up and that birdie at nine definitely did the trick,” said Bright, the first player to win successive titles on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour this season.
“I turned five behind, but I closed the gap quickly with the birdies at 12, 13 and 14. I hit a really good tee shot to the left side of the fairway. I hit a 9-iron in to 12 foot below the hole.
“I hit probably my best drive of the day on 13 and a really good lob-wedge from 79 metres in the middle of the fairway to four foot. At the downhill 14th, I hit a hybrid just slightly off the fairway left and pitched from 60 metres out to three foot behind the hole.”
Two great good par saves at 15 and 16 kept Bright in the battle for glory.
“I had a birdie chance at 15 when I pitched it close, but first putt rolled out quite a bit,” he said. “I hit 7-iron, sand-wedge to the back tier pin at 16. It looked great, but when I got there, the ball had run 14 feet past the pin. The first putt stayed out, but the second one dropped.
“Those par saves were crucial, because a few guys also ran hot on the back nine. A couple was in the clubhouse on nine-under, so I knew I needed at least one birdie over the last two holes.
“The 17th played quite short. I hit sand-wedge to 15 feet and drained the putt. On 18, my tee shot finished a metre short of the green. I lagged the first putt from 15 metres to four inches and tapped in for the win.
“I felt that the game was there in the last couple of weeks and it came together at Killarney, but today was more of a mental victory. To come from five behind and win by one is really satisfying and a big motivation.”
The victory boosted Bright to the third in the Road to the Sunshine Tour Rankings, with only R5 000 separating him and leader Dylan Mostert.
“The overall goal is a top 10 finish at the end of the season so I can earn my card for the Sunshine Tour, and the sooner you put yourself in contention, the better your chances of keeping yourself in the top 10,” said the Irene golfer. “Third in the rankings after six events is a good place to be. I just have to work hard to stay there.”
Former Sunshine Tour winner Heinrich Bruiners is in an even strong position.
The Gary Player School of 2018 member fired four birdies on the back nine for a five-under 67 that not only won him the low round honour on the final day, but propelled him to join second with Thriston Lawrence, Dylan Kok and overnight leader Matthew Rushton.
His third runner-up finish in six starts on the Big Easy Challenge Tour moved Bruiners to second overall and within striking distance of the number one spot.