Sunday, 17 January 2016
Day 4 Highlights - Joburg Open

Haydn Porteous became the second South African in as many weeks to claim a first win on The European Tour with a two-shot victory at the Joburg Open.

The 21 year old follows in the footsteps of Brandon Stone who won The BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni last week and makes it three South African wins out of five this season after Charl Schwartzel's victory at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

A blemish-free 69 on the East Course at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club ensured that Porteous finished on 18 under, two shots clear of countryman Zander Lombard as both men earned themselves a place at The Open Championship at Royal Troon.

England's Anthony Wall finished in a share of third alongside Swede Björn Åkesson, American Daniel Im and South African Justin Walters to earn his place at the year's third Major Championship via this tournament for the second consecutive season.

Porteous' victory comes in just his 22nd European Tour event and makes him the second youngest South African winner in European Tour history after Schwartzel at the 2005 Alfred Dunhill Championship.

He had missed both his cuts this season so far but has now earned a European Tour exemption until the end of the 2017 season and will move inside the top 250 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

"Words can't describe how I feel right now, it's surreal to be honest," he said following his victory. "I've been battling with my golf for the last few months and hats off to (fitness coach) Garth Milne for all the strategy and game-plan and gym.

There was a lot of sweat and tears and I can't get over this feeling right now - Haydn Porteous

"When I get home and things start to calm down I'm going to have a proper think about it. All the doors that are open because of winning the Joburg Open, it's a dream come true." 

He added: "I started to hit a few fairways and a lot more greens and gave myself some chances to make birdie, unfortunately the putts didn't go in but I was keeping the pressure low and making sure I was going to be making par.

"To make a birdie on the 18th was the best feeling in the world.

"I was just thinking 'no silly mistakes'. Go left side of the green and hope the wind drags it to the right and then I hit probably the best five iron I've hit all week and it landed just short of pin high and to about 15-20 feet. A putt I could only dream of to win the Joburg Open."

Porteous was full of praise for Lombard, who held a two-shot lead on the front nine before three birdies in six holes stalled his progress.

"Zander and I have played golf more than I can count," he said. "We've played from junior golf, from amateur golf all the way through to professional golf.

"Hats off to him, he proved himself under pressure and unfortunately he made a bogey on 14 but you live and you learn and I've got good hope for Zander."

Lombard, Porteous and Wall came into the day sharing a two-shot lead and the latter got off to the ideal start as he put his third shot on the par five first to within six feet and holed out for birdie with playing partner Im also making a gain.

When Lombard put his tee shot left of the green on the second it looked like a shaky start was in the offing but the 20 year old holed his chip brilliantly to join Wall at 16 under with Porteous making his par.

Challenge Tour graduate Åkesson was making one of the big moves of the morning and an impressive bunker shot handed him a birdie at the sixth to add to gains at the first and second to move him to 14 under.

Further birdies on the seventh and eighth meant he was in a share of the lead but a clumsy first putt on the ninth led to a bogey, which dropped Åkesson into the group at 15 under where he was joined by Wall, who bogeyed the par three fifth.

Im took advantage of the par five sixth to also move to 15 under and Ross McGowan, who battled to a 73 on Saturday, made birdies on the sixth and eighth to expand the group one off the lead to five players.

They were soon two off the lead, however, as Lombard hit a brilliant second shot into the sixth and two putts were enough to get him to 17 under as Porteous made it six straight pars.

The par fives were proving a happy hunting ground for many of the players and Lombard's two-shot lead was short lived with Wall and Im both making birdies on the eighth.

Porteous played an impressive bunker shot on the same hole to record his first birdie of the day and get to 16 under while Lombard three-putted for par with the lead staying at one.

A second consecutive three-putt then dropped Lombard back into a share and when he had to play left-handed from beside a tree on the 11th, another bogey saw him fall to 15 under.

Bogeys from Wall on the tenth and Im on the 11th saw them also drop off the lead and when Åkesson drained a 15-footer for birdie on the 15th, he was out in front with Porteous.

But a poor third shot on the par five last and three putts led to a bogey as the 27 year old signed for a 68 and set the target at 15 under, where he sat with Wall and Im, who had bogeyed the 14th but picked the shot straight back up on the next.

Porteous then made a birdie at the best possible time as he hit his second on the 14th right over the pin and spun it back for a four-foot gain and a two-shot lead.

Lombard made it three bogeys in six holes as he three-putted the same hole but he gained the shot straight back with a confidence-boosting birdie on the next.

Meanwhile, a birdie-birdie finish made it three gains in his last six holes for Walters who signed for a 69 and joined Åkesson in the clubhouse at 15 under.

Porteous played a brilliant second into the last to effectively secure victory and made a birdie with Lombard repeating the trick to ensure his place at Troon next summer, a day before his 21st birthday.

South Africa's Jacques Blaauw and Swede Johan Carlsson finished at 14 under, a shot clear of Ireland's Paul Dunne and two ahead of two-time champion Richard Sterne, Alex Haindl and McGowan, who came home in 38 to fall back.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PORTEOUS, HaydnRSA15-17
T2ÅKESSON, BjörnSWE18-15
T2WALTERS, JustinRSA18-15
T2IM, DanielUSA17-15
T2WALL, AnthonyENG17-15
T2LOMBARD, ZanderRSA15-15

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