JOHANNESBURG – Frontrunner Robin Williams ensured he was not just hiring the lead on the final day of the Fortress Invitational at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday, shooting an impressive four-under-par 68 as he strode to an emphatic six-stroke victory and his maiden Sunshine Tour title.
Williams went into the last round with a four-shot lead, having been co-leader after the second round, and he seized even firmer control of the tournament when he collected four birdies in five holes from the fifth. Showing maturity and focus beyond his years, the 22-year-old then made par through his final 11 holes as he never showed any signs of faltering on the biggest day of his career so far.
Tremendously long and accurate off the tee, and with a putter that was red-hot, Williams ensured he kept an iron-grip on proceedings, winning in style in just his 16th Sunshine Tour start.
“I’m over the moon and I don’t think it’s going to sink in for a couple of days,” a quietly delighted Williams said after he finished on 19-under-par 269 on the tree-lined Glendower course that always provides a stiff challenge.
“At the start of the season, you always set your sights on winning, but we know in golf that things don’t always work out the way you want them to. But I knew if I keep working hard, then I would give myself a good chance.
“I had a very good front nine that extended my lead, which made the back nine easier. I just had to keep my cool and my concentration, and I made some very good four, five-footers to stay in front, keep the momentum going and not open the door for those behind me.
“I used my length off the tee well, I hit my driver very good, which gave me short irons in and lots of opportunities. But this win was really down to the flat stick, especially down the stretch,” Williams said.
American Dan Erickson used the services of a pinpoint six-iron to notch a maiden albatross on the par-five fourth hole, and he also eagled the par-five 17th as he posted a superb 66 that saw him finish alone in second place on 13-under-par.
Danie van Niekerk closed with a par-72 to claim third place on 10-under, while Jacques P. de Villiers (68), Nikhil Rama (72) and Michael Hollick (74) shared fourth on nine-under-par.
Williams has used this triumph to vault into eighth place on the Order of Merit delivered by The Courier Guy and he can now forget about pre-qualifying events and can focus on being fully prepared for the lucrative co-sanctioned tournaments coming up in the summer.
“This win means everything to me and it takes a lot of stress off me. I can now play with freedom, not worry about qualifying, and get my game as good as I can for the big events coming soon,” Williams said.
Steven Brown, the CEO of Fortress Real Estate Investments, was full of praise for Williams, the tournament and Glendower Golf Club.
“Our second year of 2023 Fortress Invitational was an exceptional display of talented golfers on their journeys toward greatness. We thank the fans, friends and families that lined the fairways to support them.
“To Glendower Golf Club: You were exceptional hosts in every way and the pristine course made the pros work hard to earn their right to victory. To the Sunshine Tour, who genuinely and wholeheartedly serve the game of golf, our partnership with you is grounded in our shared belief – powering growth. We firmly believe in our local players and their unwavering determination to succeed and we are excited to be sponsoring the Fortress Rookie of the Year too.
And lastly to Robin Williams and indeed the entire field: We are in awe of the way in which you performed over the last four days, and it is our honour to have witnessed golf of the very highest standard,” Brown said.