Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bezuidenhout wins first Alfred Dunhill Par-3 title at Leopard Creek, South Africa

A spectacular tee shot just inches from a hole-in-one earned Christiaan Bezuidenhout the honour of becoming the inaugural Alfred Dunhill Par 3 Champion at Leopard Creek, South Africa.
The brand new par-3 lay-out, with each hole designed in the spirit of some of the greatest holes in world golf – from Augusta to Troon, Muirfield to St Andrews – was being played for the first time this week as the best of the European Tour and Sunshine Tour players took part in the curtain-raiser for the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Much like the Par-3 contest ahead of the Masters, the Alfred Dunhill Par-3 event at Leopard Creek was played with plenty of banter, and included a skim across the water for some like Branden Grace when it came to their eighth, designed to resemble the 16th at Augusta National.

Branden Grace hits amazing skimming shot

Indeed, Charl Schwartzel, who birdied the last three holes, faced exactly the same putt on that hole as he did during the momentous final round en route to winning the Green Jacket in 2011.
“I had exactly the same putt as I had in 2011 at Augusta, it was incredible. The putt turned 100% the same as my putt in 2011, same amount of break, about same distance and it went in exactly the same. That’s why I lifted my hand like that – it was a flashback of that happened. That was really cool.
“What they have created here, I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else.”

Charl Schwartzel holes his birdie putt at the eighth

Darren Clarke, the 2016 Ryder Cup Captain, was another who loved the experience, even if he did miss his tee time after thinking the fifth tee was the first!
“That was probably a six-shot penalty so I was out of the reckoning very early,” he said. “The course was great fun. I was playing with Graeme Storm and David Drysdale and telling them where to land the ball, the line of the putts and where the ball would run as I have played all the holes out there.

" It was a lot of fun. That will become a par 3 tradition.”

Ultimately the title went to Bezuidenhout after a play-off with Erik van Rooyen and Jean-Paul Strydom after the three tied on four under par 23.

The trio returned to the seventh hole, designed in the image of the iconic 17th at Sawgrass, with Bezuidenhout winning the title with a shot that came within a whisker of becoming the event’s first ace.
On receiving the Leopard trophy, he said: “First of all I want to thank Mr Johann Rupert for this opportunity. This facility is world class. Everyone is just on a high about this par-3 course here and it is fantastic. Thanks to Alfred Dunhill on making this possible and hopefully it is the start of a great week.”



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