Fichardt Hangs on to Win Africa Open


Darren Fichardt closed with a 1-under 71 to win in his home country at East London Golf Club in Eastern Cape, South Africa. The 37-year-old Pretorian finished at 16-under 272 to take the Africa Open for his fourth European Tour title.

After carding four birdies through 13 holes to forge a comfortable lead, Fichardt made things interesting down the stretch with three bogeys in his final four holes. He admitted later that errant thoughts got the best of him.

"I started losing focus," Fichardt told the European Tour website. "I was four shots ahead and I started taking it for granted. I was putting unbelievably and then I missed a short putt at the 14th and thought 'what's going on here?' "

But, once the dust settled, he was pleased with the outcome. "This is one of my favorite tournaments. The golf course is second to none - you've got to hit a lot of knock-down shots and irons off the tee. I always enjoy coming here, and obviously winning the tournament makes the week especially enjoyable."

Finishing in a tie for second two strokes back were France's Gregory Bourdy (70) and South African Jaco Van Zyl. Van Zyl, who began Sunday tied with Fichardt for the lead and was seeking his first European Tour title, closed with a 1-over 73.

Fichardt's win made it four straight years a South African has won the tournament; previous winners were Charl Schwartzel (2010) and fellow major champion Louis Oosthuizen (2011 and last year).

South African Garth Mulroy (67) took solo fourth at 275, while another stroke back were England's Andy Sullivan (68), Chile's Mark Tullo (71) and South Africans Desvonde Botes (70) and Tiaart Van Der Walt (71).

First-round leader Adison Da Silva of Brazil struggled over the weekend with rounds of 73 and 76. After opening with a 62 and a 68, the 41-year-old Brazilian ended up in a tie for 12th at 9-under 279.

For complete scoring, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2013/tournamentid=2013013/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.


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