Home player Thomas Aiken defeated England’s Oliver Fisher at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to take victory in the Africa Open at the East London Golf Club in South Africa.
After the pair had tied on a 72-hole total of 20-under-par, Aiken holed from 30 feet for a birdie three on the first extra hole to claim his third European Tour title, but his first in his native South Africa.
“I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time,” he said. “I’ve won a couple of times overseas but there’s nothing like winning in front of a home crowd.”
Fisher, who opened his final round with a bogey, recovered well and had a chance to win the event outright on the 72nd hole. But his birdie effort narrowly missed the hole and he could only tie Aiken at the top of the leaderboard.
Emiliano Grillo of Argentina was the 54-hole leader, but he suffered a disastrous quintuple bogey nine on the first hole of his final round. He took a penalty drop for an unplayable lie, chipped into a greenside bunker and then took two shots to get out. In the end, he did well to fight back through the round and end the week in a tie for fifth place.
Tied third were America’s John Hahn and David Horsey of England. Horsey birdied four of his last six holes but came up just one shot shy of the final total posted by Fisher and Aiken.
With the victory Aiken continued South African dominance in this event. It has yet to be won by a player from outside the host country.
East London Golf Club, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Feb 13-16, purse €1,000,000
1 Thomas Aiken (RSA) 66 65 66 67 264 €158,500
2 Oliver Fisher (Eng) 66 63 66 69 264 €115,000
T3 John Hahn (USA) 65 61 71 68 265 €59,150
T3 David Horsey (Eng) 66 64 70 65 265 €59,150
T5 Richard Bland (Eng) 64 69 64 69 266 €32,700
T5 Darren Fichardt (RSA) 66 67 67 66 266 €32,700
T5 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 68 63 62 73 266 €32,700
T5 Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 69 65 67 65 266 €32,700
T9 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 64 67 69 68 268 €18,950
T9 Keith Horne (RSA) 68 69 66 65 268 €18,950
T9 Damien McGrane (Ire) 67 69 67 65 268 €18,950
T9 Ulrich Van den Berg (RSA) 66 68 65 69 268 €18,950
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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