Golf

Norris wins Nashua Masters

2011-11-06 14:25
Shaun Norris (Gallo Images)
Port Edward - It took some persuading from his parents, but Shaun Norris can thank the move to a long putter for his dramatic come-from-behind victory on Sunday in the R1.2-million Nashua Masters at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.

Norris took the title by one stroke from a faltering Tyrone Mordt to win his second Sunshine Tour title after he won his maiden title in February 2008 at the inaugural Africa Open.

His final-round five-under-par 65 gave him a tournament total of nine-under-par.

“My putting couldn’t get any worse so I changed to the long putter for last week’s BMG Classic in Johannesburg, and I tied for third there, so it was an easy decision to keep using it this week," said Norris.

And in the end, a good birdie putt on the par-three 17th became the pivotal point in the duel between the two.

“I knew that I had to make birdie there to have any chance after I had three-putted 16 and Tyrone had made birdie,” said Norris. He sank the 10-footer while Mordt three-putted for bogey and they were level going up 18.

Norris put his tee shot in the middle of the fairway on the 348-metre par-four, while Mordt was right in the short rough, and about 20 metres behind Norris.

In the end, Mordt’s putter - coincidentally a long one too - let him down as his birdie attempt from the back fringe was narrow and finished two feet left of the pin.

Agonisingly for Mordt, his par putt lipped out.

But Norris was secure, and his approach putt grazed the hole, leaving him a tiddler for the title.

It couldn’t have pleased him more after a baptism of fire on the 2011 European Tour during which he made 2 cuts in 17 tries.

“I learnt a lot from that,” he said. “When you’re battling away every week, and you’re not getting anywhere, you learn to wait patiently. And having had that experience, I am able to know better what I want to achieve.”

That patience served him well as the conditions conspired to make play difficult in the opening two rounds at the Wild Coast: “With the wind so strong then, the long putter helped me stroke the ball better, and that kept me in touch,” he said.

For much of the final round, Mordt, playing in his 50th Sunshine Tour tournament and looking for his first victory, seemed to have matters under control. He stretched clear with three consecutive birdies from the second to the fourth, and it looked probable that he could wait for birdie opportunities to present themselves rather than having to hunt them down.

But he stumbled within sight of victory, and instead added a second top-10 performance for the year to his list after he shared seventh in the Dimension Data Pro-Am in February.

Darren Fichardt, who won the title in the 2009 Nashua Masters, finished in third on five-under, three strokes behind Norris, with Ulrich van den Berg and Brandon Pieters sharing fourth another shot further back.

Scores (RSA unless specified):

271 - Shaun Norris 68 73 65 65
272 - Tyrone Mordt 68 71 66 67
275 - Darren Fichardt 70 74 65 66
276 - Ulrich van den Berg 72 71 67 66, Brandon Pieters 71 72 64 69
277 - Wallie Coetsee 72 70 67 68, David Hewan 71 68 68 70
278 - Andre Cruse 73 69 68 68, Justin Harding 70 71 66 71, Jean Hugo 68 73 66 71
279 - Josh Cunliffe 71 74 68 66, Matthew Carvell 70 74 68 67
280 - Prinavin Nelson 76 72 65 67, Charl Coetzee 70 71 74 65, Jacques Blaauw 73 70 68 69, Justin Walters 77 68 64 71
281 - Desvonde Botes 71 72 69 69, Andrew Georgiou 76 72 64 69, Jake Roos 71 74 70 66, Anthony Michael 72 69 70 70, Dawie Van der Walt 75 73 68 65, Adilson da Silva (BRA) 71 71 68 71, Martin Maritz 69 74 67 71, JJ Senekal 73 75 71 62
282 - Jaco Ahlers 72 73 68 69, Theunis Spangenberg 70 71 66 75
283 - Neil Schietekat 70 72 70 71, Daniel Greene 71 70 72 70, PH McIntyre 74 72 66 71, Alex Haindl 73 72 66 72, Mark Murless 75 74 67 67, Oliver Bekker 68 72 70 73, Darryn Lloyd 64 71 72 76
284 - Merrick Bremner 74 69 69 72, Trevor Fisher Jnr 72 72 70 70, Johan Bekker 74 73 69 68
285 - Andrew Curlewis 72 75 68 70, Willie van der Merwe 71 73 68 73, Lyle Rowe 75 71 65 74, Garth Mulroy 67 69 74 75, Lindani Ndwandwe 70 76 70 69, Warren Abery 72 72 73 68
286 - Peter Wilson (ENG) 73 75 66 72, Callie Swart 69 75 72 70, George Coetzee 70 72 75 69, Divan van den Heever 70 77 71 68
287 - Chris Swanepoel 75 71 67 74, Louis de Jager 74 72 67 74, Nic Henning 72 71 70 74
288 - Jaco Van Zyl 70 71 71 76, Dean O'Riley 71 75 69 73, Doug McGuigan 73 73 73 69
289 - Robert Wiederkehr (SUI) 70 76 70 73, Stuart Clark (WAL) 68 80 70 71
290 - Thabang Simon 74 74 65 77, Steven Ferreira 76 73 67 74, Dean Burmester 72 75 71 72
291 - Alan Michell 72 74 70 75, Vaughn Groenewald 71 76 72 72
292 - James Kamte 76 73 69 74
293 - Derik Ferreira 77 71 66 79, Colin Nel 76 73 71 73
294 - Brett Liddle 78 70 67 79, Jake Redman 77 69 73 75
299 - Patrick Spindler 74 75 77 73
303 - David Ryan 72 77 74 80

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