New Straits Times

Coetzee is first two-time winner


PRETORIA: An impressive fivebirdie final nine paved the way for South African George Coetzee to become the first two-time winner of the Tshwane Open European Tour event on Sunday.

The 31-year-old carded a fourunder 67 at Pretoria Country Club, his home course, after a final round twice suspended by thunder storms as the tournament drew to a close.

His four-round total of 266 — 18 under — gave him a two-shot victory in an event he also won three years ago.

After a bouncing back from two early bogeys with a pair of birdies on the front nine, Coetzee birdied five holes on the inward trek and bogeyed only one.

The Tshwane Open has been dominated by South Africans with England’s Ross Fisher the only foreign winner in six tournament­s.

Sam Horsfield, a 21-year-old Englishman who turned profession­al only last year, finished with three consecutiv­e birdies to card a 67 and snatch second place.

Finn Mikko Korhonen, who led Coetzee by one shot halfway through the last round, closed with a 68 to come third after finishing joint-second last year.

Success on the course he first played as a 10-year-old was worth US$215,000 (RM 840,000) to Coetzee, who has also won the Joburg Open and Mauritius Open on the European circuit.

After closing with a birdie four after a superb third shot from a greenside bunker, Coetzee was hugged by his two young daughters and his wife.

“I want to thank the crowd who backed me all day — I could not have won this competitio­n again without them,” he said.

“A lot has happened since I last won here, including a serious ankle injury while surfing. It is good to be the Tshwane Open champion again.

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