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14th July 2022 | Big Easy Tour

Pepler seals maiden Big Easy win at Soweto Country Club

Gerhard Pepler made up for the playoff loss he suffered four weeks ago at Reading Country Club by claiming a one-shot victory over Ryan Tipping in the Altron Big Easy Tour tournament which held at Soweto Country Club on Thursday.

He carded a final-round three-under-par for a tournament total of nine-under-par 207.

“This win makes that loss at Reading feel a lot better,” said a visibly relieved Pepler. “That loss at Reading jumped up in my mind as soon as I sunk that putt on 18. Coming into the final round, my thoughts were bouncing around a lot but the key was to stay in the moment.”

Pepler started his round with birdies on the first, third and fifth holes to go three-under after five holes. Three pars followed through to the eighth before the 22-year old Serengeti Estates’ resident dropped two shots in three holes.

“I started off nicely,” added Pepler, “and made some good putts; birdie on the first hole, and then I had an eagle-putt lip out on the third and then on five, I had a good birdie as well. But from there, it looked like I ran onto a brick wall or something; no birdies were there.”

Despite making those two bogeys on nine and 11, Pepler recovered swiftly on 12 and made an important birdie there. Then, three more pars gave him some momentum as the memories of the previous drops were not yet expired. His patience paid off on 16 where he found another birdie, by which time the chasing Tipping was piling the pressure upon his younger final-group member.

“On 16, Ryan hit it close and I knew I had to make it. I made a long putt downhill and it got in, which meant a lot to me. And then, the chip on 18 was a bit of an interesting one because there was a big slope and everything, and I judged it perfectly and I made the putt.

“When I knew I’d made that putt and won the tournament, everything came out. All the stress of the last couple of months, all the pressure of the order of merit just came out of me.”

For the second year now, Tipping will take home a runners-up finish, having lost to Franklin Manchest here last April. He will, however, find confidence in the way he has constantly played himself into contention on a few occasions.

Ruan de Smidt’s five-under 67 was enough only to see him finish third, on five-under while Makhetha Mazibuko, who is a member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class of 2022/23, placed fourth on a total of four-under 212, this week.

This is the seventh of 10 Altron Big Easy Tour tournaments scheduled for this season, with six different winners already crowned champions, including two amateurs from the GolfRSA National Elite Squad.

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