South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel successfully defended his Joburg Open title, winning by four shots from countryman Garth Mulroy at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

Schwartzel played poorly from tee to green during his final round but some miraculous saves and superb scrambling saw him round in a flattering 67.

Having started the day tied for the lead with Mulroy and another South African, Thomas Aiken, Schwartzel pulled clear with birdies at the first and third. The 26-year-old then kept his nose in front with a succession of incredible up-and-downs around the turn.

Schwartzel found just one fairway from the tee on the back nine, but his short game saved him time and again. At the 13th he holed out from a greenside bunker to move three clear with five to play.

The defending champion kept the ship steady with four straight pars before closing with a birdie to secure a four shot victory over Mulroy.

“Thomas and Garth probably outplayed me on the back nine by quite a bit, but I just managed to get the ball in the hole,” he said. “I just kept telling myself ‘you’ve got a good short game and you can do it’ and my putting along with the short game came to the rescue.”

Aiken finished alone in third with England’s Jamie Elson a further shot back in fourth place.

With the win, Schwartzel joins Ernie Els and Trevor Immelman as the only South African players to successfully defend titles on the European Tour. He has also taken over the lead in the 2011 Race to Dubai.

Joburg Open
Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, South Africa
Jan 13-16, purse €1,300,000, par 71

1   Charl Schwartzel (RSA)   68   61   69   67   265   €206,050
2   Garth Mulroy (RSA)   65   64   69   71   269   €149,500
3   Thomas Aiken (RSA)   64   66   68   72   270   €89,960
4   Jamie Elson (Eng)   65   64   71   71   271   €63,830
5   Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) 67 66   67   72   272   €53,690
6   Scott Jamieson (Sco)   70   66   72   65   273   €46,020
T7   George Coetzee (RSA)   70   65   70   69   274   €29,432
T7   Oscar Floren (Swe)   68   68   66   72   274   €29,432
T7   James Kingston (RSA)   68   62   73   71   274   €29,432
T7   Tjaart Van Der Walt (RSA) 69  68   70   67   274   €29,432
T7   Allan Versfeld (RSA)   66   66   70   72   274   €29,432

Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only

Where Next?

Equipment: Mizuno JPX800 driver launched
Courses: Top 100 Rankings 2010
Opinion: Fergus Bisset