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South African Open: Full review

19 November 2012

Caddyshack Rentals are pleased to announced, after a well fought battle on the green, the South African Open at the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate Henrik Stenson closed with two birdies in his final three holes to secure victory. 

Stenson fought off a strong challenge from George Coetzee and closed with a 71 to win on 17 under par and end a title drought stretching back over three years.

“I’ve had to fight hard the last few years on the golf course and I’m very pleased to pick up this win,” said Stenson. “When it takes that long between wins you wonder if there will be another. You’ve just got to fight hard and put the work in. In this game you need to put a lot of effort in to get something back. I’m very relieved to have won this one.”

Home grown talent South African George Coetzee surprised a few as he made 71 to take second place on 14 under.

Stenson is the eighth foreigner to win the South African Open, and the second Swede following countryman Mathias Grönberg’s victory back in 2000.

Despite the tricky conditions of a strong wind throughout the round, Stenson was still two clear of Coetzee through the first eight holes. But on the par-three ninth, an old swing habit came back to haunt him and he hooked his tee shot into the water. It led to a double bogey and Coetzee parred to see them level going into the back nine.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. There was a firm breeze out there and I had a few guys on my tail. Then I threw two shots away on nine. But I wasn’t panicking. I felt I had to keep playing my own game and try and produce chances out there,” said Stenson.

The back nine turned into the match play battle Stenson had predicted. He birdied 10 and Coetzee responded with a birdie on 11. But the key was Stenson’s up-and-down for par from the greenside bunker on 15, while Coetzee couldn’t get up and down for par from the fringe and bogeyed the hole. Then Stenson’s birdies on 16 and 17 put the title beyond doubt.

“I played aggressively coming in and made the birdies, and luckily George didn’t. But George played well and will get that win sooner or later.” A 12-time winner worldwide, including the 2009 Players Championship, Stenson said winning the SA Open with the history involved was particularly special.

“Every win has a special meaning. I’ve won some great tournaments in my career but winning these traditional championships is always special. It’s very humbling to get your name on a trophy that has so many great champions. Gary Player is on there 13 times, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to match that.”

Thomas Aiken and Martin Kaymer shared third place on 13 under, while hopeful Charl Schwartzel finished fifth on 11 under.

Returning 2011 champion Hennie Otto had a poor start by his standards but signed off on an incredible note with a course record 62 to finish ninth on eight under.

With thanks to the official SA Open site.