Top Zimbabwean amateur Scott Vincent introduced himself to golf in the United States in spectacular fashion after winning the Valentine Invitational at Hermitage Country Club in Virginia on Sunday.
Vincent’s impressive win not only came in his debut tournament in the US but also less than a fortnight after he left Zimbabwe for Virginia Tech University in the US on a golf scholarship.
According to reports from the US, the 19-year-old former St John’s College student built a seven-stroke lead through 36 holes with two record-setting, 8-under-par 64s on Saturday.
Vincent, Virginia Tech freshman, then carded a 73 in the final round of the 54-hole tournament on Sunday at the Hermitage’s Sabot Course to pick up his first US victory.
His three-day par total of 15-under-par-201 was five strokes clear of runners-up Adam Ball, a junior at St Christopher’s, and Charlottesville’s Wesron Eklund, who plays at Radford.
Ball shot 71 and Eklund 70 on Sunday to finish at 206.
Vincent’s victory also gave Virginia Tech back-to-back wins in the Valentine Invitational after Marshal Bailey, who won a year ago. Marshal however wasn’t there to defend his title this year because of injury.
Virginia Tech University’s head coach Jay Hardwick spotted Vincent during last year’s Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship at Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables, Florida.
“He’s been encouraging me and giving me advice,” said Vincent, who was the top-ranked golfer on the Zimbabwe Golfers’ Association Order of Merit last year.
On the transition from competition in Zimbabwe to the US, Vincent who idolised Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods in his early golfing days, said: “It’s an entirely different atmosphere. Tournaments at home aren’t nearly as competitive.”