Strategy pays for Mowat at Southern Cape Open
Central Gauteng’s Callum Mowat stuck to a well-laid game plan in squally conditions at Plettenberg Bay Golf Club on Sunday to come from behind and claim his second title this season at the Southern Cape Open.
The Modderfontein golfer employed patience, control and a trusty two-iron to make up an eight shot deficit to win by one shot from Gauteng North junior, overnight leader Tristen Strydom.
The 21-year-old explained that his winning strategy was derived from his poor performance in the third round, which was played on Sunday morning
“We woke up to a raging wind on Sunday,” he said. “It was blowing around 35km per hour at the course. On a lot of the holes into the wind, I hit driver and it cost me a lot of shots. I just couldn’t control the ball and I walked off with a 74.
“Going into the final round that afternoon, the wind was still blowing a storm. I decided to leave the driver in the bag and stick to the two-iron, even if it meant that I had to hit two-iron, two-iron to get on the green at some of the long par-fours.
“The strategy paid off, because I had just two bogeys against four birdies while a lot of guys around me were dropping shots. I had much better control into the wind, so that was a great lesson in course management.”
Mowat was two shots off the pace from first round leaders, Teagan Gauche and Matthew Spacey, after carding an opening 70 in milder conditions on Thursday. However, in the stronger wind on Friday, he came home in 75 blows to finish four shots behind Strydom (72-69) and SA number one, Zander Lombard (69-72).
In the third round, Strydom produced a 70 to pull five shots clear of local favourite Andrew Light, while Mowat lagged eight shots behind after his 74. The 16-year-old leader kept his advantage through the front nine and was five up with seven holes to play when a triple bogey at the 12th derailed his title charge.
“I finished on one-over-par 289 and the scorer told me it was between Tristen and I,” Mowat said. “So I followed on the live scoring as Tristen completed his round. He dropped a couple of shots after the 12th, but it looked like we were heading for a play-off right up until the 18th.
“Then he missed the up-and-down chance to force the play-off. He signed for a 79 and I won by one shot. You never really want to win that way, but still, a win is a win.”
Mowat, who also won the North West Open in March and moved to fifth in the overall rankings with this victory, said he was actually far more impressed with his overall performance than his victory.
“After we played the test against Scotland I identified two areas of my game what needed attention,” he explained.
“Focus and negativity on the course was one aspect and the other was my short game. So I started working with the sport psychologist, Maretha Claassen, on positive thoughts and with Robbie Stewart over at Ebotse on improving my short game.
“My short game was really good over the four rounds and I was able to stay in the moment, stay focused and positive throughout the tournament. I concentrated on just playing one shot at a time and staying in the present and it seemed to work out well for me.
“This week was the first time I could feel it all coming together and that is a real step in the right direction. I’ve learned some great lessons this week that I hope I can take into my title defence at the Mpumalanga Open next month.”