Thomas Aiken wins Africa Open after play-off

Ireland’s Damien McGrane tied for ninth on 16 under after closing round of 65, Hoey eight under

 Thomas Aiken of South Africa won the   Africa Open at East London Golf Club after a play-off with England’s Oliver Fisher.  Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Thomas Aiken of South Africa won the Africa Open at East London Golf Club after a play-off with England’s Oliver Fisher. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Sun, Feb 16, 2014, 15:06

Thomas Aiken kept the Africa Open in South African hands by defeating England’s Oliver Fisher in a play-off to claim his third European Tour title on Sunday.

Aiken birdied the first extra hole at East London Golf Club after the pair had finished tied on 20 under par, joining compatriots Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen (twice) and Darren Fichardt in lifting the trophy.

Ireland’s Damien McGrane finished in a share of ninth place on 16 under, thanks to a final round of 65. Michael Hoey (70) finished on eight under.

Fisher narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 18th to win in regulation but then missed the green when the players returned to the same hole for the play-off, and was facing a 15ft par attempt before Aiken made sure of victory by holing from 35ft.

Aiken, with his wife Kate acting as his caddie for the week, had carded a closing 67 while Fisher returned a 69 in pursuit of his second European Tour title.

England’s David Horsey birdied four of his last six holes to shoot a final round of 65 and claim a share of third place on 19 under alongside American John Hahn.

Overnight leader Emiliano Grillo was in a four-strong group a shot further back after birdies at the last five holes repaired some of the damage of a quintuple-bogey nine on the opening hole.

Grillo held a two-shot lead thanks to a brilliant 62 on Saturday, but the 21-year-old Argentinian had already taken a penalty drop from an unplayable lie when he chipped his fourth shot into a greenside bunker, from where he needed two attempts to escape.

His sixth shot had rolled back off the green however and after chipping up to seven feet, he needed two putts to complete an extraordinary opening hole and drop his first shot since his 15th hole on Thursday.

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