Dean blazes back 9 to win Bridge event at Wingate Park
Pretoria, South Africa (February 2019) – Dean Wilken, a 15-year-old Grade 10 at Tyger Valley College in Pretoria East, eagled two par 5s on the back 9 to win the prestigious Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series tournament at Wingate Park Country Club on Sunday 17 February 2019.
By winning the title Dean qualifies for the regional finals of the #BridgeJuniorSeries in April 2019 where the ultimate prize is an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the glittering Junior North and South Championship at Pinehurst, USA in July this year.
“Having the opportunity to win the trip to the USA is going to be a big motivator at the finals, as playing in the States is a big dream for me. Long term I hope through good golf, academics and hard work I’ll be able to play college golf at UCLA in the California, study to become a Charted Accountant and qualify to play professionally on the PGA tour,” he says.
Contending with an uncharacteristically strong and swirling wind, Dean had a calamitous first 11 holes including a double bogey and a triple bogey 7 on the 11th hole.
“Funny enough, making that 7 didn’t throw me off my game. Standing on the 12th tee box I told myself to stay calm, and developed a plan to fix the mistake,” he explains. “All I tried to do to minimise errors was slow down my pre-shot routine, and think twice before selecting a club and shot choice.”
The result of the mid-round fix was extraordinary, as Dean played the final 6 holes in 4 under par including a pair of eagles.
Hole 13 turned out to be a lucky number as he chipped in for a 3 on the par 5. Buoyed by the eagle, he chose to attack the 15th which is a dog-leg par 5. Taking advantage of the helping breeze he took the shortest route, launching his driver over the towering oak trees and leaving himself just 157m to the back pin.
“I flushed a pitching wedge to about 6 feet, but left myself a challenging downhill putt. With the new 2019 USGA golf rules, I elected to keep the flag stick in,” explains Dean. “I knew holing out for another eagle would put me in contention; the moment I struck the putt I knew it was dead in the middle, and I walked it in.”
He topped the dramatic turnaround off with a birdie at the 18th to win by two over Tobias Jan de Flamingh of Pretoria Country Club. Rorisang Nkosi of Pecanwood Golf and Country Club and Joshua Koekemoer of Silver Lakes Country Club tied third.
The #BridgeJuniorSeries launched in July 2017 with 16 tournaments countrywide featuring Under-13 and Under-19 divisions for boys and girls. Endorsed by GolfRSA, the series is managed by Peter Little of the South African Golf Development Board.
Having achieved one of his golfing goals for 2019 by winning the tournament, Dean is focused on the others which include being selected for the U/19 Inter-Provincial Team, making the cut at all amateur events, being ranked in the Top 10 in SA for Boys u/17 and u/19, winning both the junior and men’s club championships.
“The way Dean achieved his win at Wingate Park is a life (and investment) lesson to all of us,” says Paul Stewart, Executive Director at Bridge Fund Managers. “Most of us would crumble when faced with such calamity, but he shrugged off the negativity, kept his focus on the long term and walked away with the title.”
Dujean Snyman shot an outstanding 73 to win the U13 A Division.
Paul Stewart, Head: Fund Management – 021 4920210. email@example.com
BRIDGE FUND MANAGERS
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