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1st September 2022 | Big Easy Tour

De Smidt grinds to victory at ERPM

Ruan De Smidt claimed a come-from-behind one-shot victory over Ricky Hendler after a final-round four-under-68 gave him a tournament total of 11-under 205 in the eighth Altron Big Easy Tour tournament at ERPM Golf Club in the East Rand on Thursday.

De Smidt was one of four players who were trailing Gerhard Pepler by two shots coming into the final round – others being Ricky Hendler, amateur Jonothan Broomhead and DK Kim – at seven-under after 36 holes. And until the 50th hole of this 54-hole tournament, De Smidt didn’t even consider himself for a chance at glory.

“I’m really happy because I’ve played well in all the Big Easy tournaments so far and to finally get a win feels really good,” he said. “But I feel like I didn’t play very well at all today. I was just trying to get it together. I was only level-par through 14; I hit it into the water on the 14th hole and made a really good par there. And then, from there and all of a sudden, something clicked, and I made a couple of putts.”

De Smidt had a shaky start in the final round, dropping on the first hole. He made amends on the second when he made a birdie there before following that up with another on the fourth, the par-five. He dropped on five but bounced back with another birdie on six before dropping again to turn in 36.

Pars from the eighth to the 13th seemed to have steadied the four-time winner on the Sunshine Tour because, after those, two birdies and an eagle in a space of four holes followed as he sealed his second title on this Sunshine Tour development circuit.

“The birdie on 16 was a really solid one for me because I hit it right and I was almost dead against the tree and I had no swing,” De Smidt said, “but I hit a really good shot from there and holed it from off the green. And then, the par-five (17th where he made eagle) was just a nice eagle to make.”

De Smidt’s win comes at the back of some solid results on the Altron Big Easy Tour which include a pair of third-place finishes, a seventh-place finish, two top-15s, and a top-25. He has missed the cut just once this season.

“This season, it feels like I’m starting to play better again,” added De Smidt, “the last two years have just been horrible. I was struggling through a couple of things; my swing, golf and just family-wise, it’s been a little rough. So, it’s nice to just try and get back into it and try to find my feet again and that’s why this win is important to me.”

The Big Easy Tour was founded in 2011 with support from Ernie Els and counts current international star Christiaan Bezuidenhout amongst its former Order of Merit winners.