Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - Page 19 News List

George Coetzee wins European Tour’s Tshwane Open

AP, PRETORIA

George Coetzee of South Africa acknowledges spectators during the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club on Jan. 24.

Photo: EPA

George Coetzee won the Tshwane Open on Sunday at the Pretoria Country Club — the course he grew up playing on — making birdie on hole No. 17 to take the title by one shot from Jacques Blaauw.

Coetzee finished on 14-under 266 after a final-round 65 at the par-70 course, where he is a member.

It was his second win on the European Tour following his Joburg Open victory last year.

Fellow South African Blaauw had a chance at his first European title with the clubhouse lead at 13-under after a course record-equaling 61, with nine birdies and no dropped shots.

Blaauw made six birdies in seven holes around the turn to set a tough target.

However, the Pretoria-born Coetzee, one of six players tied for the lead overnight, kept his nerve. Trying to drive the green on hole No. 17, he sent his tee shot into some trees. He chipped out to within five feet and made a decisive birdie, his fifth of the round.

That left him to par the last and triumph in front of family and friends at the club where he first won a junior tournament aged 10.

“It’s perfect playing my home course and winning this,” Coetzee said. “I never thought as a kid that I would play a European Tour event at my home club.”

Coetzee, aged 28, was the first golfer in seven years to win a European Tour event at his home club, the tour said.

On a South African-dominated leaderboard, home players Dean Burmester and Tjaart van der Walt tied for third on nine-under with Scotland’s Craig Lee, the only non-South African in the top five.

New Europe Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke carded 68-69 over the weekend to finish in a tie for 15th, his best result this year.

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