JC Ritchie made it two wins in two weeks when he won the inaugural Limpopo Championship on the first playoff hole at Euphoria Golf and Lifestyle Estate on Sunday.

He signed for seven-under-par 65 in regulation to get to 18-under in regulation play and despite playing well all week long, it took Ritchie a strong back nine performance to force himself into a two-man playoff with Steve Surry who played amazing golf in Limpopo. The victory goes with his win in the Team Championship with Jaco Prinsloo last week.

Having turned in 35, it didn’t look like Ritchie was in with a shout but four birdies and an eagle on the homeward stretch brought him back into it.

“It started off tough, very slow and it didn’t look like it was going anywhere,” said Ritchie of his final round of the first Limpopo Championship. “But, to turn on the fire on the back nine like I did means a lot more to me than people may think.

“After nine holes I had a good talking to myself. I had to do a bit of a game-change. In the beginning of the week all I wanted was just to hit greens, keep it in play and give myself chances but from the second round I saw guys were finding birdies out here so between yesterday and today I had to do something to start making birdies and today that back nine turned out good for me.”

With this tournament important to many players for all sorts of reasons – some playing to save their cards, others to get into the Tour Championship in two weeks’ time and others playing to improve their general standing on the Order of Merit – Ritchie also had something to play for.

“This win is huge for me,” he said, “not only for the win itself but my Order of Merit position. Going into Tour Champs, this win means so much to me and to have everyone here – my girlfriend and my friends, it was such a special event.”

He admits, however, that while he played himself, there were nervy moment especially on the last hole and the playoff hole.

“On the last hole of regulation, I was quite stressed,” he said, “I just told myself ‘just make contact’, I can fly the hazard, it’s not in play. I pulled it a little and it went a mile. I hit about 195 down the last hole, hit six-iron to about five foot. I was a little shaky over the putt and didn’t know where to hit it and it just lipped out.

“The second time around (in the play-off hole) I didn’t hit the tee shot as good. I had 230 to the flag and hit a four-iron to about three and a half foot. I feel like I have to feel sorry to Steve (Surry) because he played so solidly the whole week. He played beautifully today and did everything he could. He put up a brilliant challenge this week.”

This marks Ritchie’s third Order of Merit victory on Tour.

Scores:

270 – JC Ritchie 66 69 70 65

270 – Steve Surry 68 67 68 67

271 – Hennie du Plessis 73 68 65 65

273 – Ross McGowan 68 74 67 64, Jaco Ahlers 67 71 68 67, Andrew van der Knaap 68 70 66 69

274 – Andre Nel 69 69 69 67

275 – Christiaan Basson 70 66 68 71

276 – Anthony Michael 69 70 70 67, Luke Jerling 68 71 67 70, Lyle Rowe 68 67 70 71, Neil Schietekat 68 68 69 71

277 – Keenan Davidse 71 66 72 68

278 – Daniel van Tonder 70 68 72 68

279 – Thriston Lawrence 71 68 69 71, Jade Buitendag 70 67 70 72

280 – Merrick Bremner 68 74 71 67, Philip Eriksson 73 68 71 68, Matias Calderon 70 72 70 68, Fredrik From 71 68 70 71, Ruan Conradie 71 71 66 72

281 – Martin Rohwer 74 69 69 69, Chris Cannon 73 71 68 69, Jason Smith 69 71 68 73

282 – Jason Viljoen 74 70 69 69, Ulrich van den Berg 69 75 69 69, Rhys Enoch 72 72 70 68, Madalitso Muthiya 70 69 72 71, Louis Albertse 68 72 69 73, Bryce Easton 74 65 69 74, Riekus Nortje 67 72 67 76

283 – Jean Hugo 68 74 71 70, Rourke van der Spuy 67 73 71 72, Jacques P de Villiers 70 67 72 74, Titch Moore 71 68 70 74, Wynand Dingle 70 72 74 67

284 – Teaghan Gauche 70 72 71 71, Tyrone Ferreira 70 70 72 72, Wallie Coetsee 68 73 74 69, Chris Swanepoel 70 72 74 68

285 – Jean-Paul Strydom 69 70 73 73, Gideon van der Vyver 72 72 71 70, Jaco Prinsloo 70 71 70 74, Trevor Fisher Jnr 70 72 73 70

286 – Breyten Meyer 72 72 69 73, Luke Brown 72 69 71 74, Sipho Bujela 70 68 72 76

287 – Andrew Odoh 70 70 74 73, Peter Karmis 71 73 72 71, Keith Horne 72 70 74 71, Divan van den Heever 70 71 75 71

288 – Ryan Tipping 71 72 72 73

289 – Duane Keun 68 74 73 74, Desne Van Den Bergh 70 72 77 70

290 – Victor Lange 70 74 72 74

291 – Altaaf Bux 72 70 73 76, Philip Geerts 70 70 76 75, Scott Campbell 75 69 75 72, Doug McGuigan 70 73 76 72

292 – MJ Viljoen 71 70 68 83, Teboho Sefatsa 71 73 73 75, Robson Chinhoi 72 70 76 74, Daniel Greene 69 73 77 73

293 – Marthin Scheepers 69 73 72 79, Keelan Africa 70 74 72 77, Erhard Lambrechts 71 73 76 73, Rhys West 73 71 78 71

294 – Clancy Waugh 70 72 75 77, Cameron Moralee 70 70 78 76

295 – Mark Williams 72 71 71 81, Allister de Kock 74 69 77 75

302 – Irvin Mazibuko 73 71 82 76

DSQ – Benjamin Follett-Smith 71 69 77 DSQ