30 January 2012:
Tree triumphs in South Africa
Toby Tree, a member of the England boys’ squad, gained his first individual triumph on foreign soil when he won the Gauteng North Open at Pecanwood Golf Club in South Africa.
A closing round of 70 for 271, 17 under par, left him two strokes ahead of Zander Lombard and four clear of another Springbok in Brandon Stone.
Tree (picture © Tom Ward), the 17 year old from the Worthing club in Sussex, bettered par in all four rounds over the course situated north of Johannesburg.
An English victory looked remote when his opening 69 left him eight strokes behind Scotsman Paul Shields, who shot a sensational 61.
But while Shields added a second round 75, Tree secured two eagles including a two at the 18th hole, to romp round in 66 for 135 which left him a shot behind the new leader Lombard, who added 68 to his opening 66.
Round three saw Tree sign for eight birdies, three coming at the closing three holes, in another 66 for 201, which saw him edge a shot in front of Lombard going into the final day.
Then, despite an eagle and four birdies, he carded 70 yet increased his advantage over Lombard who returned 71.
Overall, the England boy international and former English under 14 and under 16 Champion, had three eagles and 21 birdies in his four rounds.
Leading final scores:
271 T Tree (Eng) 69 66 66 70
273 Z Lombard (SA) 66 68 68 71
275 B Stone (SA) 67 72 67 69