Pablo Larrazábal clinched the season opener of the 2020 European Tour campaign with a roller coaster victory in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
The Spaniard ended a four and-a-half year wait to secure his European Tour title in dramatic fashion at Leopard Creek Country Club.
Here is everything you need to know from a brilliant week in South Africa.
Blistering stuff from Larrazábal
The 36-year-old almost didn't play on Sunday due to severe blisters despite having a three shot lead heading into the final round. Larrazábal found himself three behind at one point after carding six bogeys and a double bogey and look to be out of contention. However, he regrouped to make three birdies in his last four holes to seal victory with a 75 and eight under par total. Speaking after his victory, Larrazábal said: “I woke up this morning and I didn’t think I was going to play. I couldn’t put my shoe on, I couldn’t walk to the buggy. I really struggled on the back nine, I have a big blister on my right toe and I said to myself ‘If Tiger can win a US Open with a broken leg…’ and I just fought hard.” Here is evidence of his injured foot. Not nice.
Joel Sjöholm's weekend show
The Swede was 28th heading into the weekend but surged into contention courtesy of eight birdies in his first 13 holes in round three, only to drop a shot at the 16th and a double bogey seven at the last for the second time in three days to be in a share of sixth at four under. Sjöholm found himself in the lead as Larrazábal struggled with blisters and swing problems before the Spaniard hit back to take the title by one shot, despite Sjöholm's three under par final round. However, it is a great start to the campaign for the 34-year-old, who took home his biggest cheque of his career of 165,000 euros in the first tournament of the 2020 season.
1 and 2 on Race to Dubai 😅!!! Thanks for all the support this week!! Now it is time for Maritius and a new week on tour ❤ pic.twitter.com/Rjfia0dVHn— Joel Sjöholm (@SwedishTORO) December 1, 2019
Schwartzel's successful return
Four time winner of the event Charl Schwartzel returned to his homeland to play in his first tournament in eight months following a wrist problem. This is what he said before the Alfred Dunhill Championship: "If I was ever going to make a comeback, it was going to be the best place for me to start. I’m not 100 per cent, as I would want to be, but I had a few good weeks practising in America, so I thought I’d come down. For me, just to be able to play and walk the fairways and compete, that will be a win." Well the 2011 Masters Champion almost completed a fairytale return as he finished two shots behind in a tie for third. Good to have you back, Charl!
New season, new rules
Four days after the 2019 Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex ended, the next season got under way with the European Tour breaking new ground at Leopard Creek. With temperatures forecast set to reach 40 degrees celsius ahead of the event, players were given permission to wear shorts on competition days for the first time. Here's how the players reacted to the news and explained why they chose to or not to wear shorts.
Wild time at Leopard Creek
The luxury of tournaments being held in South Africa is the wildlife which will be found at nearly every golf course. Leopard Creek Country Club is surrounded by Kruger National Park, but words cannot really do justice for the sights and animals you see on the course. So just watch this.