ZIMBABWEAN golfer Brendon de Jonge was left shaking his head after his sensational scoring streak ran dry just when a maiden US PGA Tour victory was in sight at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Report by Daniel Nhakaniso Sports Reporter
De Jonge, who had gone into the final round in a share of the lead, looked on course to ending his winless streak on the PGA Tour after sinking five birdies in his first 13 holes.
The burly US-based professional’s birdie blitz, however, ran dry in his last five-hole stretch where he settled for pars for a closing four under-par 67 to post a 23-under par total of 261.
This handed the initiative to his main rival American Ryan Moore who managed to sink a crucial birdie on the 16th to take a one-stroke lead which he held on to finish on 24-under-par 260 following a closing 66.
Moore, who was playing on his home course, secured a one-shot victory to clinch the trophy and a cheque of $810 000 (£502 000).
The Harare-born De Jonge on the other hand settled for second place — his highest finish in the PGA Tour career and collected $486 000.
De Jonge said his fairway miss on the 16th where his rival and eventual winner American Ryan Moore went on to convert a birdie while he settled for par proved to be the turning point.
“Today, playing a little bit down breeze, all you’ve got to do is get one in the fairway,” De Jonge said. “It’s almost a mid-iron in there, so that was definitely a turning point, you know, the bad tee shot there on the 16th.”
Moore, who had also been tied for the lead after three rounds birdied the second and third holes to take a one-stroke lead over playing competitors Swede Jonas Blixt and De Jonge, and birdied the seventh hole to move two shots ahead.
De Jonge pulled even with birdies on numbers eight and nine and they remained tied through 15, going to the 16th tee at 23 under.
“I played nicely all week,” de Jonge said. “Hats off to Ryan (Moore). He played great, especially down the stretch. He made a couple tough shots in there on 17 and 18, and he pulled them off when he needed to.”
Blixt had a 70 to finish third at 20 under ahead of Australian Jason Day who closed with a 65 to finish fourth at 18 under.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe amateur golf team of Scott Vincent, Barry Painting and Ray Badenhorst lifted the country’s flag high at the Eisenhower Trophy in Turkey at the weekend after finishing a respectable 17th.
The Zimbabwean trio finished in a five-way tie for 17th on three-under-par 425 together with Wales, Poland, Thailand and Netherlands at the 73-team tournament.
The Roger Baylis-coached side were the highest placed African team and managed to outshine neighbours South Africa who finished 23rd.