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14th March 2024 | Big Easy Tour

Nel grinds to victory in Benoni

Therion Nel carded a final-round 71 to claim a one-shot victory over Vaughn van Deventer on a total of 11-under-par at Benoni Country Club on Thursday.

Although he played well enough in the final round – especially on the back nine where he made three birdies and a solitary bogey – it was still a nervy final round for Nel as Van Deventer also charged for victory.

“This was a very up-and-down round,” noted Nel, who plays out of Bloemfontein Golf Club. “Truly speaking, I played solidly; just a few dumb mistakes. I had a three-putt on 14 after a couple of good holes and a birdie. I had a lot of momentum there but that broke it a little bit. So, there were one or two situations that got to me a bit, especially after that three-putt. But I finished strong; a birdie on the 18th. So, I’m very happy with how I played.”

Nel’s front nine was not bad either. He was one-over-par on that stretch and showed some big-match-temperament coming home.

“A win on this Tout gives you a lot of confidence; that you can compete and win against the best players in South Africa. This result certainly gives me that confidence now to say I can compete. I lost my Sunshine Tour card a couple of years back and the Big Easy Tour is one way of getting it back. There is a lot of work to be done and some important tournaments coming, so I will need some good results there to improve my chances of getting back to the Sunshine Tour.”

Such is the importance of the circuit to the players. The Altron Big Easy Tour does not only offer professional golfers an opportunity to compete at a high level and on some magnificent golf courses, it also provides a direct pathway to the Sunshine Tour.

As things stand, Nel is seventh on the Order of Merit with two events – The Play-Off at Irene Country Club and The Final at Blue Valley. The top 50 players on the Order of Merit will be eligible to play the Play-Off and from there, the top 30 will move on to play in The Final.

“It’s been a long road but there’s still a long road ahead,” Nel said, reflecting on where he lies on the standings. “But it’s always nice to see some results after a lot of hard work. I am just happy to be back in the winner’s circle. My last win was a few years back when the Big Easy was sanctioned elsewhere.

Current leader of the Order of Merit, Royal Cape Golf Club’s Samuel Simpson and Werner Deyzel finished in a share of third on eight-under-par 208. Paul Boshoff and Warwich Purchase tied fifth on seven-under while Eric Wowor finished solo seventh on six-under.

Gerhard Trytsman and members of the Papwa Sewgolum Class, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Wade Jacobs and Allister de Kock finished in a share of eighth on a tournament total of five-under-par 211.