Friday, February 05, 2016

Ferguson fades and Ireland's Hume wins 

South African stroke play championship

Jack Hume put on one of the classiest performances of the week with a flawless final round of eight -under 64 to close out a thrilling one-stroke victory in the South African stroke-play championship at Blue Valley Golf and Country Club.
The Irishman from Naas Golf Club produced a hat-trick of birdies over the closing holes in the final round to deny 2014 champion Jason Smith a repeat victory and edge out another Irishman, Stuart Grehan from Tullamore, and finish the week with a winning aggregate of 19-under-par 269.
Smith and Grehan shared second on 18 under with respective rounds of 71 and 70. Hume became the second Irish champion to have his named etchedto on the prestigious trophy since Ciaran McMonagle triumphed at East London Golf Club in 2000. 
He was also the first player to break the 270 mark since Richard Sterne won with a 22- under 266 total at Oppenheimer Park in 2001.
Hume started the last day six shots behind Smith and joint leader Ewen Ferguson and was absolutely thrilled with the day’s outcome after a shaky start.
Bearsden’s Ferguson faded with a 75 - easily his worst score of the week - and had to settle for a tie for fifth spot on 14 under 274, with the Scots trio of Robert MacIntyre, Connor Syme and Scott Gibson a stroke further back in a share of 10th.
“I knew I would have to shoot a low one to have any chance, but I struggled off the tee and battled to save par at the first few holes,” said Hume. “I knew I had a chance, but it was very tight.”
Ferguson bowed out of the tussle when he dropped five shots around the turn. He had birdies at the long third, seventh and 11th in halves of 36-39.
But the former British boys' champion bogeyed the short second, the ninth, had a double bogey 6 at the 10th and then bogeyed the short 12th and 13th.
 but Smith and Grehan were fighting for pole position in the final group. Smith led on 18 under and Grehan lurked a further shot back after both birdied 13, but Hume came through to triumph.
“I had no idea that this was such a prestigious achievement until I saw some of the names on the trophy,” the world number 39-ranked amateur said.
“It’s an amazing feeling to hold this trophy and realise that my name will be there next to guys like Branden Grace, Richard Sterne and Trevor Immelman. This is an incredible victory for me and for Ireland.”
 Connor Syme (67), Bob MacIntyre (68) and Scott Gibson (68) tied for 10th place on 13-under 275.
Grant Forrest made the top 20 in joint 17th place with a 69 for 277.
Jamie Savage had a 68 for 278 and Craig Ross a 72 for 282.
Nairn youngster Sandy Scott had a 76 - like Ferguson, easily his worst round of the four - for a final total of three-under 285 and a final placing of joint 49th. Four shots shed to par over the four-hole span from the seventh to the 10th were Sandy's undoing.
Scott had a double 6 at the seventh and dropped other shots at the first, short eighth and 10th in halves of 39 and 36. His only birdie came at the fourth.
Blue Valley Golf and Country Club
Par 288 (4x72)
269 J Hume (Ire) 67 70 68 64
270 S Grehan (Ire) 70 62 68 70, J Smith (SAf) 64 68 67 71

274 E Ferguson 67 64 68 75 (T5)
275 C Syme 68 68 72 67, B MacIntyre 67 70 70  68, S Gibson 65 75 67  68 (T10)
277 G Forrest 66 70 72 69 (T17)
279 J Savage 70 72 69 68 (T24)
282 C Ross 69 70 71 72 (T34)
285 S Scott 67 71 71 76





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