6 December 2020 – Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Casey Jarvis scored a clean sweep for Ekurhuleni in the South African Open Championship on Sunday when Bezuidenhout added his name to the greats of South African golf with a five-shot victory and Jarvis lifted the Freddie Tait Cup as the leading amateur at the Gary Player Country Club.
Bezuidenhout signed for a final round of 69 to win on 18 under par, with Jamie Donaldson taking second place on 13 under par after also closing with a 69. Dylan Frittelli was third on 11 under with his final round of 71.
The win earned Bezuidenhout back-to-back victories on the Sunshine Tour and European Tour following his triumph in last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
“It feels amazing. It wasn’t easy out there and the first nine didn’t go my way, but I hung in there. To stand here as the SA Open champion is unbelievable. This is massive for me. It’s always been a dream and I wasn’t sure when, or if, I would achieve it,” said Bezuidenhout.
The Serengeti golfer was never really under any pressure on the final day.
He took a five-stroke lead into the final round, and even when Donaldson made an early charge with two birdies in his first three holes to cut that lead to three, the champion’s composure never wavered.
He parred his way through the opening seven holes, and then suffered his first bogey when he hit his approach on the eighth into the water. But a run of three birdies from the 10th hole was the final push he needed.
“When you go into the final round with a five-shot lead you are expecting to win it, so I did put a bit of pressure on myself. When things didn’t go my way on the front nine my caddie just kept me calm, and we did a great job coming in.”
GolfRSA No 1 Jarvis claimed the Freddie Tait trophy as the leading amateur.
In securing the trophy, the GolfRSA National Squad member became only the second golfer since 1969 – when the SA Stroke Play Championship separated from the SA Amateur – to claim the rarest of trebles in one calendar year.
Jarvis won the SA Stroke Play Championship on 25-under at Randpark and defeated James Wilson from Scotland 7&6 at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington for the SA Amateur Championship title in February. He fired rounds of 73, 74, 71 and 69 to tie for 25th at Sun City, and add the coveted amateur trophy to his impressive silverware haul.
“This means a lot to me and I’m very honoured to have won this trophy. There are some great names on this trophy,” said the 17-year-old State Mines golfer. “It was a great week and one where I learned a lot about what it takes to succeed in the pro game. I was privileged to play with Christiaan Bezuidenhout in the first two rounds, and he showed me what it takes to get to that level. There is still a lot of work ahead, but I will get there. Winning the Freddie Tait Cup was a goal I set for myself and I’m just very honoured to have achieved it.”
Written by Michael Vlismas Media; edits by Lali Stander / GolfRSA