Easton wins Zim Open

HARARE - South African Bryce Easton equalled the Royal Harare course record of nine-under 63 after coming from behind to win the 2018 Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open title yesterday.

Easton started the final round on seven-under 209 after the first 56 holes and was six shots behind overnight leader and defending champion JC Ritchie, who was on 13-under 203.

However, by the end of the round, the Durban-based Eaton had clawed his way into contention and had to wait for over an hour to find out if he was he should celebrate or was going for a play-off after finishing with a score of 16-under 272.

In the end, only Danny Van Tonder came close to threatening Easton’s position on the leaderboard with a 65 to finish on 15-under 273.

Peter Karmis and Christiaan Basson were a further three shots behind the winner on 13-under 275.

Ritchie, who had had a difficult third round scoring 71, once again could not handle the pressure before carding a 73 to finish tied for fifth place together with Justin Harding and Steve Surry on 12-under 276.

For Easton, it was a long overdue win after his last victory came in June 2012 at the Vodacom Origins – Zebula.    

“I really can’t kind find the words to describe this because I have been through some ups and downs to be honest,” the Cotsworld Downs pro said after the trophy presentation.

“During those times you always feel like you are going to do it again; it’s been a long time since I have won.”

For his effort, Easton walked away with a cheque for R317 000 and the Zimbabwe Open trophy.

The 30 year-old had a fantastic final round especially on the front nine where he picked up six birdies to move into contention for the title.

He began with three consecutive birdies on the first three holes before picking up more shots on 5, 6 and 8.

On the back nine, Easton’s putter was also hot as he shot birdies 10, 14 and 16 which was a complete turnaround from the one-over 73 he had carded on Saturday.   

“I played pretty well for most of the week even yesterday (Saturday) but I was hanging in there; I doubled 17 and drop the last,” Easton said.

“Although it was 73, I feel like I played well and going out there today (yesterday); I just had a different mindset.

“Maybe that helped me because it is a whole different ball game altogether maybe being a few places off the pace was what helped me.

“Through nine when I was six-under for the day that’s when I knew I was pretty up to where the leaders would be at that time and a good back nine I could get it done.”

As for the local contingent, Ryan Cairns finished the tournament as the highest placed Zimbabwean with a score of six-under 282 after rounds of 72, 70, 70 and 70.

Mark Williams was one shot behind on five-under 283 following rounds of 71, 68, 74 and 70.

Robson Chinoi was four-under 285 while Marc Cayeux finished on one-under 287.    

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