Pretoria amateur Ruan Conradie claimed a play-off victory in the IGT Tour’s Centurion Classic to finally settle the score with his younger brother Estiaan at Centurion Country Club on Wednesday. Since the younger Conradie claimed a maiden breakthrough in the season-opening Wingate Park Open, the 18-year-old has been lording over his older sibling, but the bragging rights are back with Ruan, who defeated overnight leader David Ashley with a birdie at the second play-off hole. He says: ‘Estiaan won at our home course, but my win came at a foreign course, so mine definitely tops his.’
Conradie knocked in four birdies at his last five holes for a 66 to take the lead at 13-under-par 203, but Ashley returned a 70 to tie the amateur at the end of regulation play. In the ensuing play-off, the pair stayed tied with birdies on the first trip down the ninth, but the 20-year-old Wingate Park golfer captured the title when he birdied the par four on the second try. Conradie says: ‘My tee shot finished in the greenside bunker and David’s flew the green. He left his chip a little short and I hit the trap-shot to less than a foot. He missed a 12-footer for birdie and I tapped in to win. It’s a great feeling to get the job done, especially after I led the first round with a 66 and fell right out of contention with the 71 in round two.’
Ironically, it was actually the younger Conradie who took early command. Conradie says: ‘Estiaan made a birdie start, made eagle at 15 and knocked in two birdie putts at 16 and 18 to pull into the lead. Unfortunately he dropped a shot at five and then hit his tee shot out of bounds at six and that derailed his title bid. Meanwhile Anton Haig was also making a huge charge with eagle-birdie-birdie at one, two and three. He had another birdie seven and set the target at 12 under, so we knew what to aim for.’ Ashley turned two under after eagle at 12 and bogey at 17, while Conradie reached the turn with just a lone birdie at 16 on his card.
Conradie says: ‘I just couldn’t get anything going on the front nine, but when I knocked in a 25-footer for birdie at the second, the putter caught fire. I chipped in for birdie at the fifth, and made three birdies in a row at seven, eight and nine. I rolled in a two-footer at seven, holed a five-footer at eight and hit it to the centre of the green and two-putted for birdie at nine. I’ve working on some stuff and I’ve felt lately that the game is really coming around, so it feels really, really good to have a flawless card. I’ve had a lot of low rounds lately, but I haven’t had a bogey-free day in a very long time.’ Meanwhile Haig fired a 65 to finish alone in third at 12 under, while Estiaan Conradie’s 67 handed him a share of fourth with Zimbabwe’s Sheldon Steyn and John McClean from Northern Ireland, who signed off with a pair of 69s.
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as (AMA)
203 – Ruan Conradie (AMA) 66 71 66
203 – David Ashley ENG 69 64 70
204 – Anton Haig 72 67 65
205 – Estiaan Conradie (AMA) 73 65 67, Sheldon Steyn ZIM 71 65 69, John McClean NIR 66 70 69
206 – Jonathan Waschefort 72 67 67, Louis Taylor 69 69 68
Photo credit: CJ Du Plooy