Darren Fichardt (Getty Images)
Darren Fichardt has been named The 2013 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for February after being 35 under par for his eight rounds in winning the Africa Open and finishing runner-up in the Tshwane Open in his native South Africa.
Fichardt, who receives an engraved alms dish and a Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne, collected his fourth European Tour title with scores of 69, 67, 65 and 71 for a winning 16 under par total of 272 at East London Golf Club, Eastern Cape. Then the 37 year old from Pretoria climbed to sixth in The 2013 Race to Dubai by finishing runner-up to fellow countryman Dawie Van Der Walt with scores of 65, 71, 64 and 69 at the Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate, Centurion.
After previous European Tour victories across three continents in South America, Asia and Europe, Fichardt’s triumph at the Africa Open will retain special memories as his first on home soil.
Fichardt said: “This is a huge honour and caps off an awesome couple of months. I didn’t really think about this happening so it’s all a bit overwhelming at the moment.
“The whole game has been coming together for some time and it’s been great to see all my hard work starting to show on the scorecard. Hopefully I can maintain this momentum and continue to ride the wave.”
The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Panel, comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as commentators from television and radio, also praised the performances of two other South Africans - Richard Sterne in returning to winning form by collecting his sixth Joburg Open title and sixth overall on The European Tour and Jaco Van Zyl, winner of the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour and tied second in the Africa Open.
Iain Carter, Golf Correspondent for BBC Radio Five Live, said: “Darren’s consistency in the month of February was outstanding and his scoring was sublime – 35 under par for eight rounds is some statistic by anyone’s standard.
“February was unquestionably a month when South Africa’s golfers showed their strength in depth as the six-tournament Africa swing on The European Tour reached its conclusion. Richard Sterne produced quite brilliant golf, but Darren was in wonderful form in testing conditions at the Africa Open and then pushed Dawie Van Der Walt all the way in the Tshwane Open.”
Fichardt will now be considered along with Chris Wood, named European Tour Golfer of the Month in January, for The 2013 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year Award – seeking to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Rory McIlroy.