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Friday, 19 March 2010
Joburg Open 2009 - Round Four  (Getty Images)
Joburg Open 2009 - Round Four (Getty Images)

Anders Hansen held his nerve on the final hole of the Joburg Open to claim a birdie and win the title from Andrew McLardy.

The Dane, who was playing in the penultimate group at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, was level with McLardy at 14 under going to the par five 18th hole, and gave himself a great chance of winning by leaving his second shot 25 feet from the hole.

He missed the eagle chance, but made birdie from three feet to finish with a 15 under 269 total and see off South African McLardy, who missed several chances to pick up shots over the closing holes.

Needing a birdie himself on the last, McLardy pulled his tee shot into the trees to end his chances after he led the tournament overnight with Charl Schwartzel and David Drysdale.

Scot Drysdale ended his tournament with a 69 - a tournament total 271 - with Danny Willet, Tyrone van Aswegen and Schwartzel ending a further shot back.

Hansen’s final round five under 66 was enough to claim the €174,350 prize on his way to a third European Tour title.

However, it looked very different on day one when he finished with a level par 71 to sit eight shots off the lead.

He said: “I think it means a lot to win obviously – because that’s of course what we’re here for. Especially after the first day, where the first two holes I started double bogey-bogey and think ‘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.

“I thought I needed to keep the third round going and again got off to a good start. And then I thought I had to come out and shoot five under. I thought 15 under was going to be the winning score, so I was right.”

The 38 year old’s biggest move of the co-sanctioned European Tour and Sunshine Tour event came on the front nine where he claimed five birdies, including four in four holes to make the turn in 31.

But a bogey on the par three 12th hole saw him slip back before he hit back on the final hole.

He continued: “I played really nice on the front nine there and hit a lot of good shots, so it was really great. It (the bogey) is obviously a momentum breaker, I didn’t hit a great tee shot, and it cost me.

“(On the last) I was focussed on just hitting a good drive and I did that. I hit a great second shot and the two putt was enough, so it’s great.”

Englishman Willett, who began his round with a bogey before finishing birdie-birdie for a round of 68 said: “Yeah, it was a good finish. I turned in one over and not really playing very good and then tried to get it going on the back nine. I had a really good finish then down 17 and 18, so yeah, I’m quite happy.

“A top five this week gets me into next week at Abu Dhabi, which I wouldn’t have got in otherwise. I’m just trying to play well this year, keep plodding along and hopefully keep my card, so we’ll see what happens.”

The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for two time major winner Retief Goosen, who made a three iron 216 yard shot for an albatross on the par five 18th to end a disappointing round that included nine bogeys in a 74, a tournament total of seven under.

Defending champion Richard Sterne, bidding for a third consecutive European Tour title, made a valiant attempt to defend his title finishing with a 68, nine under overall.

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