Stoop scoops EP Border Stroke Play Championships
Gauteng North’s Hendrickus Stoop finally trusted his clubs, his ability and his emotions for three consecutive rounds and it paid off handsomely with his first provincial win.
After third place finishes at the Ekurhuleni Open and Mpumalanga Open late last year, the TuksSport golfer finally stepped into the winner’s circle for the first time at the Srixon / Cleveland EP Border Stroke Play Championship at Port Elizabeth Golf Club.
The Centurion player fired a flawless four-under-par 68 in Sunday’s final round to finish on nine-under-par 207, two shots clear of Bryce McCabe, Jade Buitendag, James du Preez and reigning South African Stroke Play champion Jason Smith.
Glendower’s McCabe stormed home in 67 strokes, while Buitendag from East London Golf Club carded a 68, Du Preez from Pretoria Country Club a 69 and Irene’s Smith a closing 70.
“I’m really excited about this win, because I have worked incredibly hard in the last six months to get my game to this level,” said Stoop. “It was great to be in contention from the start and I really looked forward to challenging for victory in the final round.
“One of my goals was to break the top 10 this year, and this win has pushed me from 14th to 10th in the rankings. I’m happy I’ve broken through early in the season and have the chance to continue improving my ranking.”
Stoop signalled his intentions with a bogey-free 67 in the first round to tie local favourite Fezekile Kana and Uitenhage’s Sieg Human for the lead.
The trio led by one from Mzuyanda Zingela from Humewood and Christiaan Wansink from Zwartenbosch Golf Club.
Stoop said he struggled a little in the afternoon because the gusting wind.
“The wind really came up, but I still managed a respectable 72 to tie for the lead on five under 139,” said the 22-year-old matched Smith and Zingela, who returned respective rounds of 70 and 71.
Du Preez carded a second 68 to move to fourth on 140, while Buitendag fired a 68 to grab a share of fifth on 141 with Kana (74).
Stoop was especially happy to produce two bogey free rounds at Port Elizabeth Golf Club.
“It’s great when you can come in under par and not have any mistakes on your card,” he said. “That’s the kind of percentage golf you should be playing at this level, so I am really satisfied with my performance in the Bay.”