27th October 2022 | Big Easy Tour
Mclachlan claims win in tough Soweto conditions
Keegan Mclachlan is the latest Blue Label Development Tour winner.
The 23-year-old Silver Lakes Country Club player was one of only two players who shot under par at the tough Soweto Country Club, where his four-under-par 68 earned him a one-shot victory over Sentanio Minnie, the other player who shot under par on Thursday.
Mclachlan has had a couple of near misses in this 10-tournament series which the Sunshine Tour and Blue Label have created to afford more players opportunities to play and earn money and order of merit points. He was runner-up at Services Golf Club in the fifth tournament of the series and he came third in the preceding event at Modderfontein.
“I’ve been playing nicely lately,” said Mclachlan, “and I had to be patient today because I knew the course was playing tough. The first time I played here in Soweto was in July in the Altron Big Easy Tour but then it was playing a lot differently to now: there was not much rough but the greens were firm. But today the course was playing really tough.”
Mclachlan started on the 10th; making pars on the first two holes before going on a four-birdie run. He made two more pars on 16 and 17 which were his seventh and eighth holes of the day. He then dropped on the 18th, his ninth, to turn in 34. Coming home, he made two more birdies and another drop to seal a round of 68 and etch his name among the winners in the inaugural season of the Blue Label Development Tour.
“My ball-striking was the best part today,” he said, alluding to how tough the course was playing and how he ultimately got over the line. “It was windy and in the wind, if you’re not hitting it well, the wind affects it a lot. You’ve got to play smart here; I hit a lot of drivers today but you’ve got to hit the right spots because the rough is up as well.”
Mclachlan has played all but one event in this new series and has had a decent season on the Altron Big Easy Tour too. He views his triumph in Soweto as a vindication of the work that he has done up to this point of the season. And, to him, these Blue Label Development Tour events are not just other one-day tournaments but a pathway to greatness.
“This win means a lot because I’m trying to get my Sunshine Tour card through the Blue Label Tour,” said Mclachlan, “and there’s also the Big Easy. I just want to have a strong finish on the Blue Label and I’m also playing in The Final of the Big Easy. So, for me, it’s just about trying to get my card in any way that I can.”
Minnie also played beautifully to card a three-under 69.
Members of the Papwa Sewgolum Class, Makhetha Mazibuko, Allister de Kock, Irvin Mazibuko and Wade Jacobs were in a nine-man tie of third alongside Ricky Hendler, Willie Olivier, Portugal’s Carlos Laranja, Bradley Diggeden and Luke Trocado.
There were 10 tournaments in the series and all were played in Gauteng. There are no entry fees required from the participating players, ensuring more playing opportunities. The Blue Label Development Tour events carry a R50 000 purse for each of the 10 one-day tournaments while expanding playing opportunities for players to sharpen their skills further.