Qualifier Wakefield Earns Victory in Sun City


Sunshine TourSUN CITY -- Simon Wakefield, who earned his place at the Dimension Data Pro-Am via Mondays pre-qualifier, held on to win the championship by four shots from Nic Henning at Sun City on Sunday.
Wakefield continued his mastery of the Gary Player Country Club with a 3-under-par 69 on Sunday, finishing on 9-under-par 279 to become the first qualifier to go on to win in the events 10 years of existence.
Henning, paid the price for a poor start to his round and could do no better than a 71, three too many to force a playoff with Wakefield but enough to win him the consolation of finishing alone in second.
Tjaart van der Walt closed with a turbulent 71 that featured only seven pars to finish at 2 under, which made him the third of only four players to complete 72 holes in red figures.
The other was 21-year-old Louis Oosthuizen, in at 1 under with a birdie on the 18th hole for a 2-over-74.
Wakefield, who will join Oosthuizen on the European Tour having earned his card at Qualifying School Finals last November, might have known it was his day as early as the first hole, when a female spectator, a photographer and a rules official conspired to hand him a stroke of luck.
Wakefields second shot struck the spectator on the shoulder on its way into the trees, the photographer rode over his ball with his golf cart and the rules official granted him a free drop. From an improved lie he went up and down for a birdie four.
While on the surface it seemed he had escaped scot-free, Wakefield did pay a price for his errant shot.
I played with Jarrod Moseley at Woburn last year and saw how he was messed up by hitting someone on the head, so it was still with me on the next hole where I made double drop.
As a peace offering to the tearful woman, Wakefield signed the word sorry on his ball and gave it to her when he walked off the second green.
To be fair, Wakefield would probably have won comfortably without that stroke of luck, or indeed without the lucky bounce from the cart-path that catapulted his ball back onto the 17th fairway.
After all, he did only make one bogey and one double bogey in 54 holes at a punitive Gary Player CC layout.
When those things start to happen, you just know its your day, said Wakefield. But I drove it well today and knew that if I hit it straight and found the greens, Nic would have to make birdies.
Henning did manage to make five birdies, but surrounded them with four bogeys that repeatedly cut his momentum and prevented him from mounting a charge.
Henning is likely to be comforted by the fact that there was nothing stopping Wakefield at the Green Monster today.
Indeed, only 12 of the 69 members of the field went under par on Sunday, and Henning was one of them.