Fichardt wins in wild finish

2011-08-12 15:14
Darren Fichardt (Gallo Images)
Port Edward – Darren Fichardt was comfortably ensconced in the clubhouse on Friday as he won the R540,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.

“That’s the biggest margin I have ever overcome to win a tournament,” said Fichardt of his 11th victory on the Sunshine Tour, on the 5,807-metre layout where he won the 2009 Nashua Masters.

In second place was David Hewan on five-under for the tournament, with five players on three-under, including the 36-hole leader Jean Hugo.

Fichardt’s bogey-free 64 included a homeward nine of five-under-par 30, which featured an eagle three on the 441-metre 12th, and three birdies – a stark contrast to the way Hugo fared on the back nine.

Hugo turned in three-under-par 32 with a five-stroke advantage at that point, and he looked as if he might falter down the stretch when he, but it seemed to be only a glimmer of hope for his pursuers as he bogeyed the 10th and the 14th.

After all, he was on course for his second title in the series in a fortnight, and his third overall for the year.

But he dropped another on 15 and then got himself into deep trouble on the 16th which saw the lead eventually go to Fichardt as he made double-bogey seven. He hit his tee shot into a lateral water hazard, but was able to play it out sideways. But his third was straight into the water and his chances of a third victory in the series sank in that watery grave.

“When I reached the turn,” said Fichardt, “Jean had already reached eight-under-par, but I looked at the leaderboard, and I was 17th. So I thought I’d give it a good go and see if I could get into the top 10.”

He did more than that: He capped a return to the winner’s circle for the first time since February 2010, and made his 2011 Sunshine Tour record read a lot better for him than just three top-10 finishes.

“I’ve been hitting the ball well since my return from my shoulder injury,” he said. “I have made a few little swing changes to get rid of bad habits I’d developed with the injuries, and, when I changed to a mallet-type putter, things started going well.”

He was also helped by the wind which gathered strength all day and exacerbated the errors that Hugo started making.

Hewan also welcomed the wind: “I didn’t think the wind would stay away for two days in a row,” he said, “and when I felt it on the fourth, I welcomed it back!”

For Hugo, with two more tournaments in the series, there is still a chance he could become the third player to win three – he would join Thomas Aiken who won three in 2004 and Brandon Pieters who won three in 2009.

Further down the field, Grant Veenstra made a charge at the lead with his opening nine, carding his first 29 in tournament play. But a bogey on 12 and a double-bogey on 18 saw him slip to two-under for the tournament and a share of xxth.

And Colin Nel, who ended up bringing up the rear of the field after a final round of five-over-par 75, also got a career first when he aced the 156-metre eighth with an eight-iron. He won a luxury pen for his efforts.

Scores: (RSA unless specified):
204 - Darren Fichardt 73 67 64
205 - David Hewan 73 66 66
207 - Jbe' Kruger 71 68 68, Tjaart van der Walt 71 68 68, Christiaan Basson 70 68 69, Shaun Norris 69 69 69, Jean Hugo 69 65 73
208 - Desvonde Botes 75 67 66, Grant Veenstra 75 66 67, Oliver Bekker 72 69 67, Andrew Curlewis 71 70 67, Keith Horne 76 65 67
209 - Allan Versfeld 76 67 66, Adilson da Silva (BRA) 73 67 69, Merrick Bremner 71 68 70, Vaughn Groenewald 66 71 72, Justin Harding 67 69 73
210 - Louis de Jager 72 70 68, Michiel Bothma 74 65 71
211 - Warren Abery 72 72 67, Theunis Spangenberg 70 74 67, Johan du Buisson 71 71 69
212 - Brandon Pieters 74 68 70, Michael du Toit 76 65 71, Albert Pistorius 72 69 71, PH McIntyre 73 68 71, Jacques Blaauw 73 64 75
213 - James Kamte 78 66 69, Brett Liddle 74 70 69, Chris Swanepoel 73 70 70, Alex Haindl 74 67 72, Neil Cheetham (ENG) 69 70 74
214 - Louis Moolman 72 70 72, Charl Coetzee 73 69 72, Jake Roos 74 68 72
215 - Wallie Coetsee 77 67 71, Jaco Ahlers 76 68 71
216 - Grant Muller 75 69 72, Prinavin Nelson 71 68 77
217 - Ryan Tipping 76 68 73, Bradford Vaughan 74 67 76
218 - Colin Nel 71 72 75, Daniel Greene 70 72 76



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