Fichardt survives late slip to take title
Golf:South African Darren Fichardt survived a late wobble to claim a two-shot win on home soil at the Africa Open in East London.
Fichardt, the joint overnight leader, held on for victory, despite dropping three shots in his last five holes to finish the day with a one-under-par 71.
That put him on 16 under for the tournament and earned him his fourth European Tour title, with compatriot Jaco Van Zyl and France’s Gregory Bourdy finishing in a tie for second.
Ireland’s David Higgins fail to fire in his final round, carding just a single birdie to go with three bogeys as he finished in a tie for 17th spot on seven under following a 74.
Fichardt had moved four under par for the day with birdies at the first, third, seventh and 13th, reaching the turn with a four-shot lead, meaning his late slump did not prove costly.
“I started losing focus,” Fichardt said on the European Tour website. “I was four shots ahead and I started taking it for granted.
“I was putting unbelievably and then I missed a short putt at the 14th and thought ‘what’s going on here?”
Van Zyl tied for the lead with Fichardt going into the final day and was his main challenger over the last 18 holes before a bogey at the last, his third of the round, left him with a 73.
Bourdy had a 70 today, consecutive birdies at the 14th, 15th and 16th giving him hope of catching Fichardt before a bogey at the 17th all but ended it.
A third South African, Garth Mulroy, was fourth on 13 under following a final-round 67, while England’s Andy Sullivan also enjoyed a decent closing day.
Sullivan shot a 68 to finish on 11 under in a four-way tie for fifth place.