Qualifier Clark wins South African Open


South African Tim Clark shot a final round 65 to win the South African Open by two shots and claim the £79,250 first prize at the Durban Country Club today.

Clark, who had to pre-qualify for his national Open, maintained his overnight lead despite a valiant final day challenge from Steve Webster. The Englishman shot the low round of the week (64) but was still two adrift of Clark’s 19-under (269) winning total.

South African James Kingston (68), who led after two rounds, and England’s Jonathan Lomas (69) shared third three adrift on 13-under.

The much expected challenge from Retief Goosen failed to materialise as the European number one struggled to keep with the blistering pace set by the leading duo.

Four birdies in the last six holes were not enough to disguise the mixed bag from earlier as the US Open champion finished with a 70 to share fifth place on 12-under.

Ernie Els managed to improve over the weekend and today’s 69, which included just the one dropped shot at the first plus four birdies, lifted the world number five into a tie for 13th on nine-under 279.

Clark, who will play on the USPGA Tour this year on a medical exemption, also gains a two-year exemption to the European Tour after today’s win.

Shandon Park’s Michael Hoey ended a satisfactory week in South Africa by signing-off with a three-under par 69 in the final round.

The British Amateur Champion collected three birdies in the last six holes to take the bad look of a disappointing 76 yesterday. Hoey finished on one-over 289.