McGee grabs joint third as Mostert produces late show to win in South Africa

Dylan Mostert.(Photo by Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)

Ruaidhri McGee rounded off the Challenge Tour’s South African swing in sumptuous style with a back nine birdie barrage to finish in a share of third place alongside overnight leader Tom Vaillant, Italian Lorenzo Scalise and South African JJ the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship

McGee shot a best of the week, eight-under 64 to soar a remarkable 30 places for a fourteen-under total, just two shots shy of winner Dylan Mostert.

The Derry native got off to a slow start with a bogey on the third but three successive birdies from the fifth saw him skip to the turn in 33.

McGee’s birdies all came in groups of three and the 32-year-old set his sights on the top-10 with birdies on 11, 12 and 13.

McGee made it six birdies in seven holes with another hat trick coming on 15, 16 and 17 which saw him home in 31 and closed him to within one of the lead as he waited for Mostert to play the 18th.

Having bogeyed the par-5 17th to put the cat amongst the pigeons, South African Mostert bounced back with a closing birdie and a 67 to win by one from Jaco Prinsloo who had set the clubhouse target at 15 under par following a sublime ten under par round of 62 at Humewood Golf Club.

Mostert was delighted to secure a maiden Challenge Tour title in Port Elizabeth and believes his strong psychological approach was the key to success this week.

“It hasn’t hit me yet because it all happened so quickly, and I am so relieved right now,” he said. “It was a grind all week because this golf course is so difficult. I played unbelievably and to see that final putt roll in for me was a huge relief.

“It’s a great achievement for me because the wind was pumping pretty much every single day and I think my mental game got me through this week. I got a few lucky breaks and managed to capitalise on it.”

The 24-year-old, who secured his first Sunshine Tour victory last season, has set his sights on earning promotion to the DP World Tour in 2023 by finishing inside the top 20 on the Road to Mallorca Rankings.

“I’ve got a taste of winning now and I just want them to keep coming,” he said. “I always try to come back down to earth, keep my basics right and work with my team to keep doing the right things.

“I’m definitely going to head over to Europe and play some Challenge Tour events this year. The Sunshine Tour has given me a great platform and now I need to make the step up and try and secure my DP World Tour card this year. I’m going to put my head down and really work hard to secure that card.

“I’m actually going to cancel my flight so I can have a few drinks and celebrate with my friends tonight.”

Mostert climbs to third on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, 74 points behind leader Marcel Siem who won this week’s Hero Indian Open on the DP World Tour. Last week’s SDC Open winner JJ Senekal occupies second place on the Rankings, while Sweden’s Adam Blommé sits in fourth.

The Road to Mallorca will now take a three-week break before heading to India for the Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge at Karnataka Golf Association from March 23-26.


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