Morten Ørum Madsen of Denmark got off to the perfect start in the 2014 Race to Dubai by winning the South African Open Championship hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni by two strokes from Jbe Kruger and Hennie Otto.
As those around him floundered, Madsen kept his composure to post a closing 67 and pick up his first European Tour victory.
“I’m just over the moon. I’m so happy. I mean coming down here, I expected to play well but I didn’t expect to stand here … right now, that’s for sure,” said the 25-year-old.
Madsen went into the final round one shot behind tournament and home favourite Charl Schwartzel. When the 2011 Masters champion birdied the second, third and fourth holes to go three in front, it looked like the tournament might turn into a procession. But a triple bogey six at the par three sixth, then a double bogey at the 10th put paid to his hopes of clinching his home Open title. Despite three birdies on the back nine, Schwartzel couldn’t catch Madsen and he finished in a tie for fourth.
Hennie Otto also looked to have the championship sewn up at one stage. The South African was four shots ahead with just four holes to play. But he bogeyed the 15th then doubled the 16th and his chance was gone. He ended the week in a tie for second with Jbe Kruger who had posted a fine 65 earlier in the day.
Italy’s Marco Crespi made an excellent start to his rookie season on the European Tour. A closing round of 70 saw him finish in a tie for fourth with Schwartzel and pick up a cheque for almost €50,000.
With the victory, Madsen is the first leader of the 2014 Race to Dubai. He has moved into the top 120 on the Official World Golf Ranking and had earned an exemption on the European Tour to the end of the 2015 season.
South African Open Championship hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni
Glendower GC, Ekurhuleni, South Africa
Nov 21-24, purse €1,100,000, par 72
1 Morten Ørum Madsen (Den)67 66 69 67 269 €174,350
T2 Jbe Kruger (RSA) 65 70 71 65 271 €101,310
T2 Hennie Otto (RSA) 72 66 65 68 271 €101,310
T4 Marco Crespi (Ita) 65 67 70 70 272 €49,720
T4 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 67 65 69 71 272 €49,720
6 Alejandro Canizares (Esp) 69 67 69 68 273 €38,940
T7 Johan Carlsson (Swe) 69 70 68 67 274 €29,755
T7 Trevor Fisher Jnr (RSA) 70 67 73 64 274 €29,755
9 Warren Abery (RSA) 68 71 68 68 275 €23,760
T10 Christiaan Basson (RSA) 66 68 71 71 276 €20,265
T10 Garth Mulroy (RSA) 70 67 70 69 276 €20,265
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
World Cup – Jason Day wins at Royal Melbourne