Coetzee takes Mauritius Open after playoff victory over Olesen

Ireland’s Kevin Phelan finishes 11 shots off the pace after a closing round of 69

South African golfer George Coetzee celeberates with his compatriot, rock star Ard Matthews,  after Coetzee’s victory at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius  Open at Heritage Golf Club yesterday. Photograph:  Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

South African golfer George Coetzee celeberates with his compatriot, rock star Ard Matthews, after Coetzee’s victory at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Golf Club yesterday. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

 

George Coetzee lived up to his billing as the highest-ranked player in the field by beating Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen in a play-off to win the inaugural AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

South African Coetzee began the final round with a one- shot lead over compatriot Thomas Aiken and Olesen, but stormed clear with birdies at the second, third and fifth at the Heritage Golf Club.

The world number 63 then drove out of bounds on the par-five seventh to drop his first shot of the day and Olesen, who had bogeyed the first, took full advantage with a hat-trick of birdies from the fifth and another on the ninth to draw level.

Olesen’s bogey on the 10th left Coetzee out in front once more and he remained there until a bogey on the 16th, just as Olesen carded a superb birdie on the 17th to take the lead.

However, Coetzee birdied the par-five 18th to force a play-off and repeated the feat twice more in sudden death to eventually get the better of Olesen, who was unable to match the second birdie after finding rough off the tee.

“I actually felt more nervous during the day [than during the play-off] and I’m happy to have pulled through it,” said Coetzee, who won the Tshwane Open on his home course in Pretoria in March.

“Thorbjorn did unbelievably well to put pressure on me the whole day. I actually had to work to catch him in the end.”

Ireland’s Kevin Phelan finished 11 shots off the pace after a closing round of 69.

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