South Africa’s George Coetzee put home advantage to full use to win his second European Tour title in the Tshwane Open yesterday.
Coetzee carded a flawless final round of 65 to finish one shot ahead of compatriot Jacques Blaauw at Pretoria Country Club, the course where he has been a member since taking up the game and won his first junior competition aged 10.
Blaauw had charged through the field with a stunning closing 61 to equal the course record and set the clubhouse target at 13 under par, with the final groups still having nine holes to play.
However, Coetzee – who was one of six players sharing the lead overnight – was just one behind after finishing his front nine with three birdies in four holes and picked up two more shots on the back nine to seal victory.
The decisive moment came on the 17th after Coetzee had tried to drive the green on the short par four. His tee shot came up in the trees, short of the green but with a clear path between two bunkers, and the world No 87 took full advantage, chipping to five feet and holing for a birdie to take a one-shot lead down the last.
“To win at your home club, in front of all your friends and family, it’s a great experience and a very special day for me,” said Coetzee.
“The crowds were amazing. I could just feel the momentum building and the crowd felt like it was getting bigger and bigger the closer we got to the end.”
Scotland’s Craig Lee was just one off the lead when he carded his fourth birdie of the day on the 14th, but bogeyed the next and then took a double bogey on the last to drop back to nine under.
Sheffield’s Matthew Fitzpatrick finished strongly with a round 67 to see himself nine shots behind Coetzee, while Harrogate’s John Parry fell away slightly with a 73, four shots further back.