Marcel Steyn Scholtz shrugged off a double-bogey on the 12th hole and marched to his maiden Tour victory in the Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day tournament held at Killarney Country Club on Monday.
He shot an inspired three-under-par 67 to claim a one-shot victory over the duo of Keegan McLachlan and Therion Nel to win his first tournament as a professional. Interestingly, Scholtz never played golf as a junior but began to take the sport seriously in 2017 when he was 23 years old. Before then, he was a rugby player at university.
“I am really stoked to have my first win as a professional,” said Scholtz after his round. “As a child growing up in Limpopo I used to dream of playing professional golf but I never I never had the opportunity to play as a youngster. I just played social golf.
“But, when I finished my degree I was in a good place mentally and physically and that’s when I thought I should take golf seriously. Today, I am happy I made that decision. For some this may be a small win but for me it’s huge because of where I come from. So, I want to say thank you to the Sunshine Tour and Blue Label for making these tournaments for us.”
En route to this memorable win at Killarney, Scholtz fired in a bogey-free 32 on the front nine of this par-70 layout. He made birdies on the second hole, the par-five fifth and the eighth holes to turn with an unblemished scorecard.
Then the round was suspended due to an approaching storm.
Coming home, the 29-year-old Highland Gate Golf and Trout Estate made another birdie on 11 but a double on the 12th threatened his progress. Scholtz steadied himself, making back-to-back pars in the next two holes. He found his groove again on the 15th, a par-five, and made further gains to finish his round on three-under 67 and go home victorious.
“I gave myself a lot of chances today,” he said. “This is a good golf course and you need to place it well off the tee. The approach shots are also very important here if you want to give yourself a chance on the greens. But the key for me was in and around the greens. I rolled in a few nice putts today and that was down to creating good opportunities for myself. That was my goal today; to create as many opportunities for myself and I did that well.
“A win is a win, no matter what tournament you are playing. For me, this win comes at the right time and I think it will give me confidence going into Wild Coast this week.”
Scholtz is in the field of the Sunshine Tour’s Wild Coast event this week and following his win in testing weather conditions, he will have every right to look forward to what that tournament brings.
“When the wind was up this morning, I played nicely and I was controlling the ball nicely,” Scholtz noted. “I was hitting good shots and shaping them the way I wanted. I think that is important at Wild Coast. The way you shape your shots and controlling your ball flight and the spin is very important because of the weather there. But, I will be ready and I am looking forward to going at it again.”
The Blue Label Development Tour is another Sunshine Tour initiative designed to afford players more playing opportunities.