6th July 2023 | Big Easy Tour
Frade claims season-opener in a play-off at Randpark
Nicholas Frade showed some big-match temperament on Thursday as he claimed a come-from-behind victory after the first playoff hole in the final round of the season-opening Altron Big Easy Tournament at Randpark Golf Club.
Along with Pecanwood Golf Estate’s Slade Pickering and Vryburg Golf Club’s Leon Vorster, Frade finished the tournament on 14-under-par in regulation, necessitating a playoff to decide the winner of this first event of the new season.
Coming into the final round, the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington golfer was two shots off Leon Vorster and Allister de Kock’s lead and knew that an unrelenting push in the closing round would give him a fair chance at victory.
As he had done in the previous round, Frade was meticulous and deliberate in every shot he played, resulting in a second successive five-under 67 which placed him in a three-way share of the lead with Vorster and Pickering.
Pickering was first off the tee in sudden death, sending his tee shot left and into the trees lining the 18th fairway on the Bushwillow track. Vorster, too, pushed his tee shot left and into trees while Frade found the fairway and a clear view of the 18th green. His second shot was just as impressive as he easily found the green, leaving him about two meters from the flag.
Vorster manufactured a beautiful shot out of the trees to find the green while Pickering’s second ball landed on the fringe behind the green. Pickering’s third shot was well-weighted and stopped half a meter from the flag. Vorster also failed to make a birdie with his third shot, leaving Frade with a glorious opportunity to make a birdie and claim the win.
“I’m super ecstatic,” said an elated Frade. “Last year I came close to winning a few Big Easy tournaments but today I got it done. This is the first time I went three rounds in the 60s in a tournament. I thought to myself if I can post three rounds in the 60s, I could get it done. Luckily, it got me into the playoff and made a nice birdie for the win.
“My strategy in the playoff was just to give myself a shot and I knew the flag was on the left on 18, so I went to the right to give myself a chance. I hit it on the fairway and the rest is history. I knew I needed to make the putt to win and I did just that.”
Frade is no stranger to a Sunshine Tour winner’s circle. He claimed his first win of any Sunshine Tour-sanctioned event in the Blue Label series last year at Modderfontein. The Blue Label Series is another avenue the Sunshine Tour established to maximise playing opportunities for players who are not eligible for a start on the main Tour.
Having secured his Sunshine Tour privileges after a successful Altron Big Easy Tour campaign last term, Frade will be eager to take the confidence with which a victory comes into the next tournaments he plays.
This 54-hole tournament was the first of a 12-event long season of this Sunshine Tour developmental tour which was first commissioned in 2011.