JJ Senekal posted a bogey-free seven under par final round of 65 to seal his maiden European Challenge Tour title in wire-to-wire fashion at the SDC Open.
The South African held the lead after every round at Zebula Golf Estate & Spa and he closed out victory by reaching 25 under par, four clear of countryman Casey Jarvis who finished second on 21 under par.
The 35-year-old carded four birdies on the front nine to make the turn at four under par, before adding three more birdies on the home stretch, and he was clearly emotional after securing his first triumph for over five years.
“I’m very emotional right now,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of hard work into this, and my coach has done a phenomenal job with my golf swing. This is my first win since 2018 on the Sunshine Tour and I can’t thank him enough for what he has done this past year.
“I worked hard on the putting green last night and it has clearly paid off because I made a few good putts today and luckily no bogeys.
“It felt great to walk up the 18th and see my ball next to the flag, knowing I had a three-shot lead and I was about to tap in for birdie. The pressure was lifted off my shoulders and I could enjoy the moment.”
“Casey Jarvis gave it everything today and chased me down to the wire,” he added. “We played some great golf and luckily it was me that fired the last shots. I tried to focus on every shot and stay in the moment.
“It’s great for the Sunshine Tour to have these co-sanctioned events with the Challenge Tour and the DP World Tour because it gives South African players a platform to go on and play in Europe if they wish.”
South African Pieter Moolman carded a five under par round of 67 to finish in third place on 19 under par alongside countryman Jaco Prinsloo, while Italian Lorenzo Scalise and England’s Bradley Bawden finished a shot further back in fifth.
Frenchman Pierre Pineau posted the low round of the day, a nine under par 63, to finish seventh on 17 under alongside Sweden’s Adam Blommé and South African Martin Vorster.
Blommé climbs into pole position on the Road to Mallorca Rankings on 358 points, while Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Follett-Smith is 31 points behind in second. Frenchman Ugo Coussaud occupies third place on the Rankings, while Jarvis and Moolman make up the top five.
The Road to Mallorca remains in South Africa for the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship, taking place at Humewood Golf Club from February 23-26, 2023.