Daniel Brooks was delighted to get his 2016 European Tour campaign off to an encouraging start after finishing third at the BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni.
The Englishman briefly held a two-shot lead just after the turn as he looked to add to the Madeira Islands Open – Portugal – BPI title he won in 2014, but a closing round of 72 was not enough to hold off the challenge of Brandon Stone.
Brooks had not swung a club in anger since the UBS Hong Kong Open at the end of October and admitted that to be competing at the top of the leaderboard this week was beyond his expectations.
I've not played a lot and I've finished third so I'm over the moon - Daniel Brooks
"It's been a good week. I didn't come out here expecting to finish right up there. I've barely played for the past couple of months so it was good fun.
"It was a bit scrappy this afternoon. I hit a few good shots but I hit a few dodgy ones, I wasn't hitting it very close to the pin."
On a dramatic final day at Glendower Golf Club, Brooks trailed Stone by five shots at one point before the South African hit a rough patch to let the 29 year old back in.
But a bogey on the tenth stalled his momentum and another dropped shot on the last dropped Brooks out of a share of second place.
"After about six or seven holes I saw he went a few in front and then I looked again a couple of holes later and I was one in the lead and happy again," he said.
"I hit a couple of good shots but then on ten didn't hit a very good shot into the green and had a three-putt."
The man who did finish second was Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who closed with a 67 to finish one ahead of Brooks and two shots shy of the winner.
The South African also briefly held the lead alongside his two rivals and set his sights on one day finishing a place better at his home Open.
"Everything was just great this week: the course was great, the atmosphere was great, my playing partners were great, so I'm very pleased," he said.
"This Open is every South African golfer's dream to win one day. I've come close this year so hopefully one day it will be my chance."
Retief Goosen has won the title twice and, much like Brooks, he conceded he was happy to finish in a tie for fourth after a long spell out.
"It's nice to play. I like this golf course, it's a great track," he said.
"I'm happy with the result. I didn't expect to win. I haven't played for four months so I didn't expect much. It was nice to have a good week."