NAIROBI, April 12- Haydn Porteous carded a dramatic eagle two at the first extra hole to edge out compatriot and friend Brandon Stone en route to his first professional title at the Barclays Kenya Open.
It was another underwhelming year for Kenyans with Dismas Indiza summing up the dismal showing by firing a 75 that saw him drop from the top ten at the start of the day to shared 28th with five under 283 for the tournament.
His prize takings were 1,620 euros (Sh 159,620.73) with compatriots Brian Njoroge (2 over 290) and Matthew Omondi (9 over 297) ranked 59th and joint 63rd on the final leader board with only three local golfers qualifying for the final two days of action at Karen.
In the end, the tournament that has provided the launch pad to three past champions to the first Major of the season, The Masters that was being played concurrently at Augusta namely; the late Seve Ballesteros, Trevor Immelman and Ian Woosnam became an internal South African contest as Porteous and Stone outclassed the rest of the field to force extra holes.
The 20 year-old from Johannesburg hit a sublime three wood from the tee to seven feet at the par four 12th in the first hole of sudden death after signing for a closing 68 at Karen Country Club to pull alongside Stone at 17 under par, having trailed by one overnight.
Porteous who took charge of the leader board going into Day 3 before being supplanted by Stone on Saturday took home € 32,000 (Sh 3,153.001.99) for his win as the overnight principal bagged € 22,000 (Sh 2,167,688.87) after losing the shootout.
Porteous made a strong start with two birdies before further gains followed at the fifth, 12th and 13th to cover dropped shots at the sixth and 14th.
As for Stone, who made six birdies of his own on Sunday to card a 69, the turning point came when he racked up a double bogey at the par four 13th.
That allowed Porteous back into contention, and when the pair both birdied the par five 18th, extra holes were required to decide a victor.
The triumph fulfils the promise Porteous showed as an amateur, while it also earns him a first full season of Challenge Tour action.
“It hasn’t sunk in just yet, but I am sure when I wake up tomorrow morning I will know exactly what I’ve done,” said Porteous, who was ranked the best amateur in South Africa before joining the paid ranks.
“It was nerve-wracking out there today and certainly not boring. Brandon was two shots ahead, then I was two shots ahead, then we were even down the last and ended up both making clutch putts for birdie before the play-off. Then it was a once in a lifetime eagle,” he added.
His next target is to have a season that will land him a European Tour card having aced the first European Challenge Tour event of the campaign.
The South African pair may have taken much of the attention on the final day in Kenya, but there was plenty of exemplary play elsewhere in the closing 18 holes, not least from George Woolgar who signed for a 67 to finish one stroke back in third – the best performance of the Englishman’s career so far.
Another Englishman, Sam Walker, was another shot back in fourth after the three-time Challenge Tour winner posted a 69 to close.
-Material from europetour.com used for this report