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Sunday, 20 November 2011
Garth Mulroy  (Getty Images)
Garth Mulroy (Getty Images)
Garth Mulroy was caught twice but fought back to win his first European Tour title on home soil at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Two clear overnight, the 33 year old bogeyed the second to allow Jbe Kruger to level, before the latter’s challenge was ended by a double bogey six at the ninth when he found water.

Four birdies between the sixth and 13th looked to have sealed victory for Mulroy, but as he dropped a shot at the 14th Scotland’s George Murray played a wonderful second shot at the long 15th to ten feet and eagled.

But while Murray parred his way in for a career-best European Tour finish of second, Mulroy birdied the 15th and 16th – the latter with a 60 foot downhill putt - which with two closing pars gave him a four under par 68 and 19 under total.

“I just tried to play smart golf and hit it in the right spots,” said Mulroy, who has twice won on the Sunshine Tour and now has a great chance to win their Order of Merit at the South African Open next week.

"I knew halfway down that slope it had a chance," he added, referring to his monster putt at the 16th.

The €158,500 first prize opens The European Tour door to him just a month after he earned a return to the US PGA Tour in the United States via the Nationwide Tour.

Murray, meanwhile, achieved his best-ever Tour finish seven weeks after he came third in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, where he outscored World Number One playing partner Luke Donald in the final round.

This time a five under par 67, one better than Mulroy, took him four clear of four players in third place - his compatriot Peter Whiteford, South Africans George Coetzee and Jaco van Zyl and also Chilean Felipe Aguilar.

Murray was down in 183rd spot on The Race to Dubai entering October and facing the danger of a sixth trip to the Qualifying School.

Now the 28 year old, Scottish amateur champion in 2004, is inside the top 80 with winnings of over €380,000 this season.

Mulroy’s was the 100th South African win in European Tour history and he admitted it presented him with some exciting opportunities.

“There are a lot of opportunities for me now. It’s nice to have these kind of options,” he said.

“I want to win the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. I know I’m ahead now, but I’m not going to relax until next week’s over. I’ll putt it off the tee next week if I have to!”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MULROY, GarthRSA18-19
2MURRAY, GeorgeSCO18-17
T3VAN ZYL, JacoRSA18-13
T3COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-13
T3WHITEFORD, PeterSCO18-13
T3AGUILAR, FelipeCHI18-13
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