McKibbin closes with a two-under 70 as Bachem takes maiden DP World Tour title

Mark McGowan

Tom McKibbin (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Tom McKibbin responded to Saturday’s disappointment by firing a closing two-under to finish at -5 in the Jonsson Workwear Open at Steyn City in Johannesburg as Nick Bachem came from behind to capture his maiden victory.

Having opened with a promising 68, the Tour rookie gave himself an outside chance at glory when he backed it up with a second-round 70, but a three-over 75 on moving day took him out of contention.

The struggles continued into today’s final round, where, starting on the back nine, an opening bogey was one of three in the first five holes. He did birdie the 11th, but the difficult start meant damage limitation seemed to be the order of the day.


To McKibbin’s credit, he refused to throw in the towel and he make is second birdie of the day at 16, and go bogey-free for the rest of the day with an eagle-three at the third and a final birdie at the par-4 seventh seeing him move to -2 for the day, -5 for the tournament, and to a tied 71st finish.

36-hole leader Bachem was in the penultimate three-ball after losing ground on moving day, but a final-round 64 saw him catch the leaders early on, and he’d head a crowded leaderboard for much of the final day before pulling clear as his rivals faltered on the back nine.

The 23-year-old finished 24 under par at The Club at Steyn City for his first win on the DP World Tour, with home duo Hennie Du Plessis and Zander Lombard sharing second place on 20 under.

He said: “It’s just amazing. I can’t understand what’s happening the last couple of days, it’s just amazing and feels great.

“I just had the goal to enjoy today, it’s just the beginning of my career so I just enjoyed it as much as possible and played great and got lucky that it was my day.

“I thought it was super-close and then I saw the leaderboard on 15, saw I was four shots ahead or whatever and then I was super-nervous. I just kept on going and it was a pretty nice finish.”

Bachem and playing partner Gavin Green hit the front early on, each making three birdies in the first four holes, before overnight leader Alexander Knappe responded at the fifth.

Another birdie for Bachem at the sixth kept him one clear until compatriot Knappe birdied the ninth, with Du Plessis joining Knappe and Green at 19 under thanks to a birdie at the seventh.

Bachem and Green both birdied the 10th, with the German adding another at the next to open up a two-shot cushion.

Double-bogeys at the 12th dropped Green and Knappe back to 18 under, leaving Du Plessis alone in second until he too double-bogeyed the 13th – his first dropped shots in 59 holes, since bogeying the eighth in round one.

Bachem capitalised with a birdie thanks to a perfect tee-shot at the par-three 14th to take a five-shot lead with four to play and rode the wave the rest of the way home.

Du Plessis bounced back from his error with two consecutive birdies but Bachem eased any potential nerves with one of his own at the 17th before parring the last.

He added: “I just changed my mindset, I was in the lead for the first time ever in Kenya two ago and I was like, ‘I want to win now, I want to play the course record, I want everything now!’

“Yesterday I was just like, ‘If I make a top 20 or top 15 it’s a great week’, so I just stuck to the plan and made nine pars in a row and I was super-calm.

“I made three good birdies, especially the last one yesterday on 18 was amazing, and then going out today it was just a perfect round of golf. Really enjoyable.”

Lombard emerged from the chasing pack with nine birdies in a 65, his fourth round of the week in the 60s, to share second place with Du Plessis.

Ockie Strydom, winner of December’s Alfred Dunhill Championship and last month’s Singapore Classic, kick-started his challenge with three successive birdies from the tenth but had to settle for joint fourth alongside Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson. Strydom rises to fourth on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.


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