Darren Fichardt overcomes late wobble to clinch two-shot win at Africa Open
By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK. Last Updated: 17/02/13 4:36pm
Darren Fichardt: Held on to win by two shots at East London Golf Club
Home favourite Darren Fichardt overcame a late wobble to clinch a two-shot triumph at the Africa Open on Sunday.
The 37-year-old from Pretoria shot a closing 71 to finish on 16-under-par at East London Golf Club, two clear of compatriot Jaco Van Zyl (73) and France's Gregory Bourdy (70).
Fichardt appeared to be cruising to victory when he made his fourth birdie of the day at the 13th hole to move four shots clear of the field.
However, he would then make three bogeys in his next four holes to see his lead trimmed to one shot and looked in real danger of being caught when his drive at the 18th leaked a long way right into the galleries.
(SA unless stated)
-16 D Fichardt
-14 G Bourdy (Fra)
-14 J Van Zyl
-13 G Mulroy
Click here for collated scores
The door was well and truly open for nearest challenger Van Zyl, but he was unable to put any pressure on his playing partner as he pushed his approach to the last wide of the green.
That seemed to settle Fichardt who then produced an excellent second to the heart of the green, all but killing off the contest.
In the event he would go on to make a two-putt par, while Van Zyl could do no better than a bogey which left him in a tie for second with Bourdy.
Another South African, Garth Mulroy, shot a 67 to claim fourth place on his own on 13-under, while England's Andy Sullivan shared fifth with Mark Tullo of Chile and two more home players, Desvonde Botes and Tjart Van der Walt.
The success is Fichardt's fourth on the European Tour and follows his victory at the St-Omer Open in France last June.
Afterwards, the victor conceded he had made things difficult for himself down the stretch, stating: "I started losing focus. I made a nice putt on 13 and I was four shots ahead, hit an awesome three-iron into 14 and I started taking it for granted out there."