ZIMBABWE’S leading golfer Brendon de Jonge rebounded from a missed cut two weeks ago to finish in a tie for position 22 at the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship played out at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, on Sunday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
After missing the cut in his last outing at the Wells Fargo Championship, De Jonge was desperate for a solid week in Texas to revive his hopes of qualifying for the biannual Presidents Cup to be held in South Korea later this year.
Needing to at least make the cut to boost his confidence, the 34-year-old from Harare dug deep to shoot rounds of 70, 66, 63, 70 for a 72-hole total of eight-under-par 269, 10 strokes behind eventual winner Steven Bowditch from Australia.
The burly Zimbabwean pocketed a cheque of $62 302 for his efforts in Texas to take his season’s earnings to $1 377 467 from 19 tournaments.
The highlight of De Jonge’s week was his brilliant 63 on Saturday which saw him briefly taking the early clubhouse lead after starting the day in a tie for position 40.
De Jonge opened with four straight pars before reeling off four consecutive birdies to make the turn at four-under 31.
He added further birdies on the par-four 11th, the par-3 17th, the second consecutive round due to soggy course conditions.
The former St John’s College student would drop his only shot of the round at the last after his tee shot found the water.
After laying a solid foundation for a possible top 10 finish, De Jonge was, however, unable to mount a serious challenge on Sunday as three bogeys and two double bogeys derailed his charge.
However, despite the poor finish, De Jonge was still the highest placed African at the conclusion of the tournament ahead of South Africans Rory Sabbatini (T29) and Richard Sterne (T39).
Meanwhile, United States-based Zimbabwean amateur golfer Scott Vincent was recognised for yet another sterling season after being named to the Division I PING All-East Region team announced by the Golf Coaches’ Association of America. Vincent won the Puerto Rico Classic in February and had four top five finishes in his senior season while he also led the Virginia Tech University golf team in scoring average.
He played in four NCAA Regionals, finishing fourth at the Noblesville Regional earlier this month. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Month for February.