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5th February 2023

Follett-Smith enjoys a double in Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open

CAPE TOWN – Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Follett-Smith became only the second player to win two Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open titles when he claimed a one-stroke victory at Royal Cape Golf Club on Sunday.

In windy conditions and with a group of players vying for the lead coming down the back nine, Follett-Smith closed with a 70 to win on 15 under par and add to his 2019 victory in this tournament. He joins JC Ritchie as the only two-time winners of this tournament.

“I’m so happy to be a two-time winner on the Sunshine Tour. I think the second time you win is when you really prove yourself. Cape Town is such a special place and I love coming back to this golf course. I feel very at home here,” said Follett-Smith, who also claimed his second Sunshine Tour title and his first on the European Challenge Tour, who co-sanction this tournament.

Follett-Smith went into Sunday’s final round tied for the lead with Darren Fichardt. At one stage he was locked in a battle with five players who were tied for the lead on 14 under par on the back nine. Follett-Smith broke free of that group with his birdie on the 14th for a one-stroke lead on 15 under par.

On the par-four 17th, he flew the green with his approach and was in danger of slipping back into a four-way tie for the lead. But the Zimbabwean produced a touch of magic with his incredible up-and-down for par to retain a lead he carried through to victory.

“That up-and-down on 17 was the key to the win. I thought I’d hit the second shot perfectly but the wind combined with adrenalin took it over the green. I’m glad the wind picked up in the final round, though, because that’s where I’m good. When there were so many players vying for the lead, my caddie just said to let the guys run and fight each other and we just do what we normally do. I’m just so grateful to have won,” he said.

The gratitude stems from the the hard work Follett-Smith has put in over the past two years to get to this point.

“The last two years were a big learning curve for me. It’s been difficult and I’m just so happy to have won again. It’s been a lot of hard work. I came out on tour and was Rookie of the Year and won in my first year, and everything was kind of simple. But I’ve figured out you just need to keep working hard every week. I’ve been confident in the work I’ve been doing and what my game is capable of.”

Ugo Coussaud and Jaco van Zyl shared second place on 14 under par. – Michael Vlismas