Sunday, 04 March 2018
Day 4 Highlights - Tshwane Open 2018

George Coetzee won his second Tshwane Open title as a brilliant birdie burst on the back nine handed him victory in Waterkloof.

The South African is a member at Pretoria Country Club and entered the final round with a two-shot lead, although he found himself two behind Finn Mikko Korhonen after two early bogeys.

He then delivered a putting masterclass, needing just ten strokes on the greens to birdie five of his next eight holes from the eighth and open up a three-shot advantage before play was suspended due to thunder and lightning at 3.37pm.

The final four groups returned to the course an hour and 34 minutes later and, despite a further 17-minute delay, Coetzee held his nerve to card a 67, stay at 18 under and finish two shots ahead of England's Sam Horsfield.

Playing partner Horsfield finished with three birdies in a 67 to edge a shot ahead of Korhonen, with Chilean Felipe Aguilar, Frenchman Sébastien Gros and South African Daniel van Tonder then at 14 under.

The victory is Coetzee's fourth on the European Tour - with all of those coming on African soil - and his second on his home course after his triumph in 2015.

"A lot has happened since the last time I held that trophy," he said. "I broke my ankle and I kind of needed to show myself that I could win on Tour again and it's nice to come and do it again in front of the home crowd.

"They were amazing, I don't think I could have done it without everybody out here supporting me the whole week.

"On the eighth hole I started making everything, me and the greens became one. That really made it easier for me to not worry so much about where I'm hitting it."

I kind of needed to show myself that I could win on Tour again and it's nice to come and do it again in front of the home crowd - George Coetzee

An approach to three feet on the third put Korhonen within one of the lead and a Coetzee stumble soon had him in front.

The 31 year old's second on the third came up short of the green and a poor chip led to a dropped shot.

Korhonen found sand off the tee on the par three fifth but holed his bunker shot to edge ahead and when Coetzee had to play sideways out of the trees on the fourth, the 37 year old had a two-shot lead.

Coetzee holed from six feet on the sixth but a 20-footer on the seventh from Korhonen re-established the two-shot cushion before Coetzee went on an incredible run with the putter.

He holed from 12 feet for a birdie on the eighth, saved par after finding water on the ninth and a poor spot on the tenth, and then holed a 30-footer on the 11th for four consecutive one-putts and a share of the lead.

He was a long way away on the green at the par five 12th but got down in two to lead, although Korhonen would join him as he holed from the fringe ahead on the 13th.

Another long putt from Coetzee moved him ahead on the 13th and after a Korhonen bogey on the 15th, Coetzee birdied the same hole from ten feet to lead by three before the horn sounded.

A poor tee-shot on the 17th from Korhonen meant that lead was up to four but Horsfield birdied both the 16th and 17th from around ten feet and, with Coetzee going over the back of the green and dropping a shot on the penultimate hole, his lead was two going up the last.

Korhonen took advantage of the par five to join Horsfield in second but the 2017 Qualifying School winner recovered well from a poor second to make a birdie of his own, with Coetzee also making a gain as he got up and down from a bunker.

Before his big finish, Horsfield had been somewhat inconsistent in his first appearance in a final group on the European Tour, birdieing the fifth, sixth, ninth and tenth but bogeying the third, seventh and 11th.

Van Tonder birdied the third but then gave the shot back on the sixth before making six birdies in his next eight holes to sit just one off the lead. He bogeyed the 15th but then birdied the last to sign for a 65.

Gros also carded a 65, with birdies on the first, sixth, eighth, 12th, 13th 17th, 18th and a bogey on the seventh.

Aguilar started with a bogey but that was his only blemish as he added birdies on the fifth, sixth, ninth, 17th and 18th in a 67.

Scotland's Scott Jamieson finished at 13 under, two shots ahead of Spaniard Pedro Oriol - who carded the lowest round of the week with a 62 - and South Africa's Thomas Aiken.

Another South African in Erik van Rooyen then rounded out the top ten at ten under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-18
3KORHONEN, MikkoFIN18-15
T4VAN TONDER, DanielRSA18-14
T4GROS, SébastienFRA18-14
T4AGUILAR, FelipeCHI18-14

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