Thirty three-year old South African Toto Thimba beat Portuguese Stephen Ferreira by three strokes to win the third edition of the KCB Karen Masters.
Both players were 23 under going into the par 5-15th but Thimba pulled through with back to back birdies on holes 15, 16 and 17 which the Portuguese parred to finish second.
The Mamelodi-based Silver Lakes Country Club professional becomes the first black golfer to lay his hands on the coveted blue jacket following the four-day 72-hole stroke play event which folded it’s curtains at par 72 Karen County Club. It was a bitter pill for Ferreira to swallow after leading the tournament in the first three days.
Ferreira went into the last round with a shot lead which he failed to sustain as round four action wore on.
Thimba, who also led his team to Pro-Am victory on Tuesday, was at it again with a tournament record of 26 under par 262 as the Kenyan round of the Sunshine Tour came to a dramatic end.
This went down as Thimba’s first career win in the prestigious Sunshine.
“Every time I go to play in Africa I am always treated well by the home fans. I mean, the crowd which has trailed me over the last two days made me feel like I am home. It wasn’t easy fighting with Stephen, but I made it look easy going into the last four holes. I played well but Steve was quite aggressive. I have had to contend with immense pressure over the last the days but had great attitude this week. The win will definitely open the mighty doors of opportunity in the bigger Tours,” said Toto.
Ferreira who set a course record of 10 under on the opening day was left to rue his last round of 69 which handed his opponent the title in the latter stages.
“I have had a great tournament. Shooting 23 under in four days and carding the event’s best round on Thursday is no mean achievement. I had a shaky start on the last round and lost it in the last four holes. Toto has played really well and deserves it at the end of the day,” said Ferreira.
Greg Snow was the leading Kenyan after he settled for joint seventh position on 11 under par 277.
David Wakhu was the second best placed Kenyan on 6 under par 282 gross to finish T27.
“Im overly excited with the result. Wrapping up my campaign in the top ten is a great achievement. I didn’t have a good game in the first few hole so had to change my game plan going into the second nine wich paid off,” said Snow who played a round of 2 under par 70 on the last day.
Thimba’s win earned him Ksh. 2.4million while Snow went home with Ksh. 365,750.
- Toto Thimba RSA R. 348,700.00 (-26) 262
- Stephen Ferreira POR R.243,100.00 (-23) 265
- Keith Horne RSA (-17) 271
- JC Ritchie RSA (-16 ) 272
- Garrick Higgo RSA (-14) 274
- MJ Viljoen RSA (-13) 275
- T7. Thriston Lawrence RSA (-11) 277
- T7 .Greg Snow KEN (-11) 277
- T 9. Merrick Bremner RSA (-10) 278
- T9 .Estiaan Conradie RSA (-10) 278
- T9 . Steve Surry ENG (-10) 278