Follett-Smith wins Cape Town Open

HARARE – Benjamin Follett-Smith scored a final round 66 to secure a two-stroke win at the RAM Cape Town Open at Royal Cape Golf Club in South Africa yesterday afternoon.

This was the Zimbabwean’s maiden Sunshine Tour win and it came after rounds of 68, 67, 72 and 66 for a gross total of 13-under-par 275 and he pocketed a cool R317 000 for his troubles over the past four days.

“It’s great; there’s nothing better. I have won on the Big Easy Tour and now I have won on the Sunshine Tour,” Follett-Smith said after his win.

“I feel playing in the Golf World Cup in Australia in November last year gave me the experience of playing in a big PGA Tour tournament and winning on the smaller tours can give you an idea of how to win on these main tours.

“Obviously it’s a great feeling to finally pull it off and then shooting 30; six-under on the back nine in this wind is absolutely unbelievable golf.

“I absolutely have no words to describe what I’m feeling at the moment; practice pays off and this has been my week, I’m happy to be the winner.”

The 22-year-old started the final round tied for 14th place on seven-under-par 209 and was never rally expected to trouble the overnight leader Jean-Paul Strydom, who was on 13-under-par 203.

However, six birdies on the back nine brought Follett-Smith back into contention and eventually the win.

The Zimbabwean scored consecutive birdies between 11 and 13. He achieved the same feat between 15 and 17.

“I played the back nine so well,” he said.

“My putter was hot and everything. I could read the lines and everything was just going well for me. It all started on the par-five eleven, where I made a birdie.

“I made a good up-and-down, which was nice. I made a good putt there and two more on 12th and 13th then made a par.

“After that I made three birdies and the last hole I was driving, I hit it on the left, it actually bounced when it hit the flag and I had to up-and-down.”

Strydom and Zander Lombard could only finish two strokes behind on 11-under-par 277.  

In fact, Lombard was tied for the lead on 13-under with Follett-Smith, who had finished playing, when he birdied the par-four number 14.

At that point, a play-off was in store if the European Tour contender had maintained that score.

In fact, the South African was in with a chance to even dislodge Follett-Smith off the top of the leaderboard as he had a birdie chance at the par five number 16 which he had birdied in the previous two rounds.

Lucky for Follett-Smith, Lombard missed his chance and it got better for the Zimbabwean as he went on to drop shots on the last two holes.

The other Zimbabweans in the field when the tournament commenced on Thursday were Mark Williams, Mohammad Rauf Mandhu, Robson Chinoi, Anthony Michael and Ryan Cairns but they all failed to make the cut.