Henrik Stenson of Sweden won the SA Open Championship at the Serengeti Golf Estate in Ekurhuleni by three shots from South Africa’s George Coetzee.
It was the Swede’s first European Tour victory since 2007 and it secured his place in next week’s DP World Championship in Dubai.
“I’ve had to fight hard the last few years on the golf course and I’m very pleased to pick up this win,” he said. “When it takes that long between wins you wonder if there will be another. You’ve just got to fight hard and put the work in. In this game you need to put a lot of effort in to get something back. I’m very relieved to have won this one.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Stenson through the final round. Midway through the back nine Coetzee drew level and it looked like the competition would go right down to the wire.
But the young South African bogeyed the 15th and then Stenson struck with consecutive birdies at the 16th and 17th. That was enough to see off Coetzee who remains winless on the European Tour. This was his eighth top-10 finish of the season.
It was a good day for England’s Tommy Fleetwood. The 21-year-old Englishman came into this event sitting 124th on the European Tour money list, with only the top 119 guaranteed playing rights in 2013.
He played four solid rounds to finish on a four-round total of nine-under-par and in a tie for sixth. It was enough to push him up the rankings and keep him gainfully employed next season.
“It feels better than a win,” he said. “I’m absolutely made up.”
Gareth Maybin, Maarten Lafeber and Craig Lee all managed to stay inside the top 119 but Estanislao Goya, James Kingston and Lloyd Saltman narrowly missed out.
SA Open Championship
Serengeti Golf Estate, Ekurhuleni, South Africa
Nov 15-18, purse €1,000,000, par 72
1 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 66 65 69 71 271 €158,500
2 George Coetzee (RSA) 70 70 63 71 274 €115,000
T3 Thomas Aiken (RSA) 73 66 69 67 275 €59,150
T3 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 70 70 68 67 275 €59,150
5 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 68 68 74 67 277 €41,300
T6 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 70 69 71 69 279 €29,833
T6 Darren Fichardt (RSA) 68 70 68 73 279 €29,833
T6 Magnus Carlsson (Swe) 68 67 68 76 279 €29,833
T9 Hennie Otto (RSA) 71 72 75 62 280 €20,600
T9 Michael Jonzon (Swe) 68 69 71 72 280 €20,600
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage