Sport24.co.za | Key putt wins Tour Championship for Fichardt

Cape Town – It looked as if Darren Fichardt’s putt on 16 was going to finish a long way past the hole on Sunday, but it went in and set up his one-stroke victory in the Tour Championship at Serengeti Estates.

He carded a three-under-par 69 to pull away for a win after a roller-coaster final round during which he had to fight off the attentions of two other players for the lead. In the end, he finished the tournament at 17-under-par 271, one shot ahead of Oliver Bekker, with Dean Burmester and Justin Harding a further stroke back.

“I gave myself a lot of opportunities, and luckily I made them when they counted,” said Fichardt. “I made two really good birdies in a row on 15 and 16. I made two weak pars coming in, but at least it was one shot better than everyone else.”

He started solidly, but then an unexpected dropped shot on the fourth seemed to put him out of the race as Bekker and Burmester made a run at it.

Bekker, in particular, looked threatening as he kept a clean card all the way until the 17th, and, with five birdies to his credit, it seemed likely that he would win his fourth title of the season.

Burmester had the most topsy-turvy of the rounds of the chasers, with two eagles, four birdies and six bogeys.

But each of them dropped a shot on the 17th, and that ultimately gave Fichardt the breathing room he needed.

In fact, his par-save on 17 was probably as important as any other in setting up victory. “On 17, the wind was a little out the right,” said Fichardt. “It was actually a perfect wind. That fairway felt so wide for me and I almost hooked it. I caught the bunker and I thought, ‘Why do I do this to myself? I’m 42 years old and I don’t need this stress in my life with a 50-metre bunker shot!’ I played it out to the front and luckily I had an easy enough chip.”

Even though he was able to cruise in, he still had some anxious moments as the players in from of him threw everything into trying to win themselves. “Luckily the guys ahead of me helped me a little bit,” he said. “I heard a lot of cheering in front of me and I didn’t know who it was. I saw Dean fist-pumping on all the par-fives, so I figured he was making eagles while I was making pars. I thought I was letting this thing slip.”

In the end, although his ball took a full circuit of the hole on 16 before dropping in, even what he called “weak pars” on 17 and 18 were not enough to stop Fichardt from winning his 16th Sunshine Tour title.

Scores:

271 – Darren Fichardt 68 66 68 69

272 – Oliver Bekker 70 68 67 67

273 – Dean Burmester 68 68 67 70, Justin Harding 69 65 66 73

274 – Jbe‘ Kruger 69 67 71 67

276 – Neil Schietekat 67 70 72 67

278 – Trevor Fisher Jnr 71 67 67 73

280 – Alex Haindl 72 68 72 68

283 – Justin Walters 72 70 72 69, Hennie du Plessis 73 72 68 70, Tyrone Ryan 78 66 68 71, Tyrone Ferreira 72 70 69 72, JC Ritchie 71 72 68 72

284 – Anthony Michael 73 68 75 68, JJ Senekal 71 67 75 71, Peter Karmis 72 67 74 71, Jean Hugo 73 69 71 71

285 – MJ Viljoen 71 69 74 71, Zack Byrd 73 69 72 71

286 – Keith Horne 74 74 71 67, Vaughn Groenewald 76 67 74 69, Hennie Otto 73 70 72 71

287 – Rhys Enoch 72 66 74 75

288 – Louis de Jager 74 69 76 69, Daniel van Tonder 76 69 74 69, Jean-Paul Strydom 72 72 73 71, Jared Harvey 71 76 68 73

289 – Ulrich van den Berg 72 70 74 73

290 – Adilson Da Silva 72 75 72 71, Jaco Prinsloo 75 72 71 72, Rourke van der Spuy 70 71 70 79

291 – Jake Roos 76 68 73 74, Breyten Meyer 72 68 76 75

292 – Keenan Davidse 76 75 69 72, Doug McGuigan 71 71 77 73

293 – Daniel Greene 76 72 72 73, Riekus Nortje 71 80 69 73

295 – Ockie Strydom 77 72 76 70

296 – Mark Williams 75 71 78 72

297 – Colin Nel 71 76 76 74

304 – Lyle Rowe 82 70 78 74

WDN – Neil O‘Briain 79 74 WDN

Receive News & Ratings Via Email - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.