European Tour

Fichardt eyes British Open scalp

2017-03-05 05:59
INTENSE: Darren Fichardt is focused on winning the British Open in July as he thinks he is in the best form of his career. (Petri Oeschger , Sunshine Tour, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Darren Fichardt believes his stellar showing at the Joburg Open will enable him to win the big one – the British Open – which he has contested five times, but has failed to finish after missing the cut each time.

In winning the Joburg Open, the Pretoria golfer sank a two-foot putter, which gave him a one-stroke win and R2.6 million at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club last Sunday.

He carded -15 for a total of 200 to dispose of Stuart Manley of Wales and Englishman Paul Waring to lift the trophy.

In doing so, Fichardt qualified together with the two runners-up to compete at the British Open, which will be contested at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport in the UK from July 20 to 23.

But it is the thought of winning the big British Open – the world’s oldest of the four major golf championships – that occupies his mind the most.

He tried his luck without success in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010. In all that time he carded scores that did not allow him to proceed to the next round.

Fichardt joins five other South African players – Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Jbe Kruger – who have already qualified to compete at the British Open.

Bring Claret Jug home

“I’m currently in the best form of my career and should win my first major at the British Open. I’ve not finished it before because of poor form,” said Fichardt.

The 41-year-old player, who has won five times on the European Tour (see box), paid tribute to his caddie Jady de Beer for helping him lift the Joburg Open silverware.

“I called him over to help me read the putt that would win me the tournament, but in the end I sank the two-footer, which ultimately sealed the win for me,” said Fichardt.

“I’m hoping to go with Jady to the British Open, where he will hopefully help me bring the Claret Jug home.”

Fichardt is currently taking part in the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club.

“I’m looking forward to doing well in the Tshwane event as well,” he said.

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