Christiaan Bezuidenhout added his name to the greats of South African golf as he claimed a five-shot victory in the South African Open at the Gary Player Country Club on Sunday.
Bezuidenhout signed for a final round of 69 to win on 18-under par, with Jamie Donaldson taking second place on 13 under par after also closing with a 69. Dylan Frittelli was third on 11 under with his final round of 71. The win earned Bezuidenhout back-to-back victories on the Sunshine Tour and European Tour following his triumph in last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
“It feels amazing. It wasn’t easy out there and the first nine didn’t go my way, but I hung in there. To stand here as the SA Open champion is unbelievable. This is massive for me. It’s always been a dream and I wasn’t sure when, or if, I would achieve it,” said Bezuidenhout.
Bezuidenhout was never really under any pressure on the final day. He took a five-stroke lead into the final round, and even when Jamie Donaldson made an early charge with two birdies in his first three holes to cut that lead to three Bezuidenhout’s composure never wavered.
He parred his way through the opening seven holes, and then suffered his first bogey when he hit his approach on the eighth into the water. But a run of three birdies from the 10th hole was the final push he needed.
“When you go into the final round with a five-shot lead you are expecting to win it, so I did put a bit of pressure on myself. When things didn’t go my way on the front nine my caddie just kept me calm, and we did a great job coming in.”
South African Casey Jarvis claimed the Freddie Tait trophy as the leading amateur, finishing tied 25th on one under par with rounds of 73, 74, 71 and 69.
“This means a lot to me and I’m very honoured to have won this trophy. There are some great names on this trophy. It’s a goal I set for myself and I’m just very honoured to have achieved it,” he said.