Johan Edfors became the first Swedish winner of the Stanbic Zambia Open when he posted a brilliant seven-under par 66 in atrocious conditions to win by a convincing four strokes at the Lusaka Golf Club.
Edfors battled through incessant rain to finish the tournament, which was reduced to 54 holes when Saturday’s play disappeared under a downpour, on 13-under par 206 and claim his maiden victory on the European Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour, who co-sanctioned the event.
South African Michael Kirk took second place on nine-under 210 with a final round of 70, while Scottish professional Scott Drummond claimed third on 211 with a 74.
Desvonde Botes, Drummond, Sebastian Fernandez and Travis Fraser were the joint leaders on nine-under with Edfors three strokes back at the resumption of play on Sunday morning.
But Botes, Fernandez and Fraser all fell dramatically off the pace with respective final rounds of 79, 78 and 88. Drummond fought hard to keep himself in the hunt, but couldn't sink a putt.
All of which opened the door for Edfors to come storming through the field. He picked up only one shot on the front nine with two birdies and a bogey and, ironically, played his best golf when the conditions were at their worst on the back nine.
"I love the rain. For some reason I always play well in these conditions," said the 27-year-old from Gothenburg.
Edfors reeled off three consecutive birdies from the 10th to surge into contention. His approach into the par-five 13th green finished five feet from the hole for an eagle chance. But that's when the heaven's opened to force a suspension of the round.
A brief respite in the rain saw the golfers sent back out again roughly an hour later, with Tour officials joining the course staff in a mammoth effort to squeegee the waterlogged greens and get the course in some playable
condition for the final few holes.
Edfors returned to miss his eagle putt but secured his fourth successive birdie. The Swede then wrapped up his victory with birdies at holes 17 and 18.
"I knew if I kept holing putts I would be in with a chance," he said. "I wanted to shoot at least seven or eight-under, and felt that if I could get to 12-under for the tournament I would be in with a chance. In the end, I went one better.
“To secure my first victory is a big relief. I’ve been in contention on a couple of occasions but I’ve always fallen away in the final round. Today, I didn’t know how the other guys were doing but I set myself the target of 12 under par.
“I got there with the birdie at the 17th and then I felt confident I would win. At the par five 18th I pushed my drive right of the green 20 metres from the pin. But I almost holed my lob over a bunker and was left with a short putt for another birdie. It was a great way to finish.”