Team Ireland’s Neil O’Briain birdied his final hole to claim a podium finish at the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa.
O’Briain was flawless in his work today en-route to a final round of six-under-par 66 to finish outright third on 15-under-par for the tournament.
The Old Conna based pro did all he could to reel in South Africa’s Jaco Ahlers but the winner wasn’t for catching, firing a 64 of his own on his way to a 20-under-par winning total over the Montagu layout.
The result in South Africa is a great sign for the Royal Dublin man after a tough 2017 season as a niggling hip injury and a broken rib allowed him to make just five cuts from 14 starts.
“I pleased because I played nicely this week,” said O Briain.
O’ Briain will split his time in 2018 between assisting in the pro shop at Old Conna and playing on Irish Region, the European Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour.
“After a stop-start season last year with three long breaks in there with my hip and the broken rib, it’s just nice to be playing solidly again. The Sunshine Tour wouldn’t give me a medical this season, but this is a nice start.”
The third place finish earned O’Briain just over €23,000 so it was a satisfying week for the 31-year-old Dubliner who alongside his caddy, had to drive 1200km just to qualify for the tournament. Well worth the trip !
For those of you who don’t know, The Sunshine Tour is a men’s professional golf tour based in Southern Africa. For much of its history it was known either as the South African Tour or the FNB Tour, but it rebranded itself in an attempt to broaden its appeal.
Most of the tour’s leading official money events, including the South African Open, are co-sanctioned with the European Tour to attract stronger fields. Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace are amongst the names of those who have won its Order of Merit. So not a bad place to start then.