PRETORIA (27 August 2023) – Luca Filippi and Ryan van Velzen produced some incredible golf under the pressure of a two-hole playoff to win the Bain’s Whisky Ubunye Championship team event at Pretoria Country Club on Sunday.
Filippi and Van Velzen finished regulation play tied for the lead with Hennie O’Kennedy and Louis Albertse on 18 under par after both teams signed for betterball scores of 64. This after O’Kennedy in particular made some crucial putts coming in to force the playoff.
There was nothing to separate the two teams after the first playoff hole on the par-five 18th, played under a betterball format.
Playing the hole again under a foursomes format, O’Kennedy and Albertse were unlucky to see their ball plug under the lip of the greenside bunker. But Filippi and Van Velzen had still produced enough quality of their own to ensure a birdie and the win.
“We dovetailed well. I had a few difficult holes and Luca backed me up most of the time. But we came through strong in the end. We both made good birdies on the first playoff hole under the betterball format. And then playing the second playoff hole as foursomes, I took the initiative off the tee. I gave Luca a nice number in and he hit a great second into the middle of the green,” said Van Velzen.
For Filippi, Van Velzen’s drive did indeed set up the perfect approach.
“I had a perfect number for an eight iron and just hit it to the middle of the green. I didn’t know that Hennie’s ball was plugged. I think they got a bit unfortunate there, but we took two putts and sealed the deal.”
This was Van Velzen’s second victory on the Sunshine Tour, while Filippi finally broke through with his maiden win.
“It’s been a long time. I’m very emotional to be honest,” said Filippi. “It’s taken two long years and a lot of runner-up finishes. I’ve learnt that patience is key. You can work hard and it will always pay off. I couldn’t be more happy, and especially to win with Ryan this week.” – Michael Vlismas