Anders Hansen of Denmark has won the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club by a single shot from home player Andrew McLardy. Hansen held his nerve down the stretch and made a crucial birdie at the closing hole to sneak home in front.
Playing in the penultimate group, just ahead of McLardy, Hansen came to the last tied with the South African on -14. But the Dane fired a superb second shot into the par-5 last, leaving himself 25-feet for eagle. He missed that chance but calmly rolled the ball home for a birdie four, asking the question of McLardy back down the fairway.
The South African had missed a host of chances over the closing holes and, when he pulled his tee shot into the trees on the 72nd hole, his chance was gone.
Hansen made his move on the front nine of the final round claiming five birdies and going out in a scintillating 31. He held on well through the back nine to claim his third European Tour victory.
“It means a lot to win obviously – because that’s of course what we’re here for.” Said Hansen. “Especially after the first day, where the first two holes I started double bogey-bogey and was thinking ‘what is this?’ But I turned that round around and got off to a flying start the second day. I couldn’t keep it going, but that sort of helped me put things into perspective thinking about the next day.”
Young English star Danny Willett closed with a solid 68 and his joint fourth place finish was enough to earn him a start at Abu Dhabi next week. “I wouldn’t have got in otherwise.” He said. “I’m just trying to play well this year, keep plodding along and hopefully keep my card, so we’ll see what happens.”
Defending champion Richard Sterne, who was going for an incredible three wins out of three through the European Tour’s “South African swing,” closed with a creditable 68 to finish tied for 12th on nine under par. It’s been a superb run for the diminutive South African.
Retief Goosen closed with a disappointing 74 but it could have been a good deal worse had he not holed his second shot from 216 yards on the final hole for an albatross two.
Royal Johannesburg and Kensington GC, South Africa
Jan 8-11, purse €1,100,000, par 71
1 Anders Hansen (Den) 71 68 64 66 269 €174,350
2 Andrew McLardy (RSA) 65 68 69 68 270 €126,500
3 David Drysdale (Sco) 65 66 71 69 271 €76,120
T4 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 68 71 63 70 272 €46,127
T4 Tyrone Van Aswegen (RSA) 69 65 70 68 272 €46,127
T4 Danny Willett (Eng) 67 66 71 68 272 €46,127
T7 David Dixon (Eng) 68 69 68 68 273 €27,757
T7 Joakim Haeggman (Swe) 69 68 66 70 273 €27,757
T7 Richard McEvoy (Eng) 69 65 72 67 273 €27,757
T10 Estanislao Goya (Arg) 70 69 69 66 274 €20,625
T10 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 71 66 67 70 274 €20,625
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only