Ockie Strydom produces birdie blitz to win in Singapore

Ockie Strydom | Credit pic Getty Images

It was a second DP World Tour win in six starts for Strydom after he managed nine birdies and no dropped shots on his way to the low round of the week and a 19-under-par total.

That was good enough for a one-shot victory over Sami Välimäki, who looked on course for the win midway through the final day, with Marcel Schneider, Jeunghun Wang and Alejandro del Rey on 15 under.

Strydom was four shots off the pace overnight with Wang and Del Rey out in front at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.

While Wang never really got going, Del Rey threatened to run away with it with three straight birdies kicking off his Sunday before a double bogey at the sixth put the brakes on.

Välimäki was the one bursting through, posting birdies at the first, third, fifth and sixth. He picked up another at the eighth and by the time he nailed a 30-footer for his sixth gain of the day at the tenth, he was three shots clear.

A fist pump followed and Välimäki looked unstoppable at 18 under but in the blink of an eye the lead was back down to one. He was short with his approach to the 12th and slack with his third, walking off with a first bogey since the third hole on Saturday.

Up ahead, Strydom tapped in for his sixth birdie of the day at the par-five 13th to get to 16 under. He had already gained shots at the first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth

The South African climbed into a share of the lead when he made it back-to-back birdies at the 14th but Välimäki was back in front after taking advantage of the 13th. His eagle attempt all the way across the green left a tap-in for him to go out on his own again.

His birdie putt at the long 14th stayed above ground but Strydom missing his own attempt from around nine feet at the 15th kept Välimäki in pole position.

But Strydom was far from finished. He rolled in a tricky downhill putt for birdie at the par-four 16th to share the lead once more.

It looked like advantage Strydom when Välimäki fired his tee shot at the 16th way right, over the cart path leaving a blind approach, but he recovered brilliantly, only to miss the birdie attempt from a few feet.

Strydom left himself a tricky up and down when he went through the green with his second to the par-five 18th but he held his nerve, jabbed it into the banking and rolled it stone dead.

Ockie Strydom Winning Highlights | 2023 Singapore Classic

That brilliant birdie set the target at 19 under, leaving Välimäki heading up the last needing an eagle to win and birdie to tie.

The Finn was short with his approach and could only manage a par.

Looking back on his touch of magic at the last, Strydom said: “It’s a funny one, I said to Jaris my caddie it’s either going to go up in the air and land in the fringe, but if you hit a little bit behind it, it’s wet.

“I took the safe shot, took a wedge, laid it up and it came out absolutely phenomenally. I didn’t even think it was going to come out that good. It came out and ended up where it was.

Strydom’s maiden win, at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, was back in December and helped him get over the line.

He said: “It’s a mindset that’s changing at the moment. When you’ve been in that situation before and you know you can do it again.

“I was thinking about not being here this week. Hitting it so badly. My coach flew in and my wife said to me, ‘listen, maybe this is your week’. And look what happened, it’s my week.”

He added: “I don’t know if there are any emotions at the moment. I was thinking after Ras Al Khaimah to go home and practice because the swing’s not there. I spoke to my coach, who flew my assistant coach in, we worked hard to get the swing back to where it was. I’m still speechless how it happened this week.

“The chip on 18 was phenomenal. It was one that is either perfect and coming back or it’s in the pond. I played it exactly how I wanted to. Just glad it came out to about half a foot and I knocked it in.”

*Credit info to www.europeantour.com and Images to Getty Images

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