Nedbank Golf Challenge: Thomas Bjorn wins by two
Last Updated: 08/12/13 6:24pm
Thomas Bjorn: two back-nine eagles
Denmark's Thomas Bjorn shot a closing seven-under-par 65 in Sun City to claim a two-shot victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Bjorn's round included two back-nine eagles and took him clear of Spaniard Sergio Garcia (65) and Welshman Jamie Donaldson (70).
Bjorn began the day three shots behind long-time leader Donaldson but four birdies allied to two crucial back-nine eagle threes saw the 42-year-old Dane blast past the Welshman for a deserved victory.
GB & Ire unless stated
-20 T Bjorn (Den)
-18 S Garcia (Spn)
-18 J Donaldson
-16 H Stenson (Swe)
-15 B de Jonge (Zim)
-13 C Schwarzel (SA)
Bjorn was denied a faultless card after a bogey at the last, but that was immaterial as the European Tour veteran finished on 20 under par, comfortably clear of Donaldson and Garcia, who also shot a final-round 65 to finish in a tie for second on 18 under.
Bjorn's win, his 15th on the European Tour, was the second of the day for golf's old guard after 49-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez claimed victory in the Hong Kong Open earlier on Sunday.
FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai champion Henrik Stenson was fourth after a 67, with Brendon de Jonge (66) fifth and Charl Schwartzel (66) sixth.
Bjorn's precise five iron into the 10th green set up the first eagle to push him past Donaldson for the first time. The Dane had his second on 14 after his approach pitched in a bunker and rolled up onto the green.
"They were two big moments," Bjorn said. "Obviously having two eagles on the back nine on a Sunday doesn't happen very often. The shot into 14 was a bit fortunate but that's what happens when you win golf tournaments, I guess."
Donaldson was bidding to become the first debut winner at Sun City since Zimbabwe's Mark McNulty in 1986 but bogeyed the ninth and made no more birdies until 17.
Garcia's challenge slipped away with a dropped shot on 16 after a run of four straight birdies at the end of his front nine, allowing Bjorn to bogey the last and still win.
Bjorn's triumph was hailed by fans in the galleries by the 18th green waving streams of South African flags on a day dedicated in the country to prayer and reflection following the death of former President Nelson Mandela. The tournament stood for a rendition of the South African anthem at the end.
"I think to the whole world he was just an inspiration to human beings. He was a great man," Bjorn said of Mandela at the trophy presentation. "To see what one man can do, it's an inspiration to all of us. If we all just did a bit more, this world would be a better place."