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European Tour: 4 Things We Learned at the Africa Open

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Trevor Fisher Jr. of South Africa poses with the trophy after winning the Africa Open at East London Golf Club Sunday in East London, South Africa.

Home player Trevor Fisher Jr. fired a fabulous final round 64 to win the Africa Open at the East London Golf Club in South Africa. Fisher Jr. took the victory by five shots over England’s Matt Ford.

Fisher Jr. played a steady front nine at East London, then put his foot to the floor on the run for home. Four birdies and no dropped shots on the way back gave the chasing pack no chance of catching the 35-year-old. The South African didn’t drop a single shot on the back nine all week.

It was a first European Tour win for Fisher Jr. and one that could be life-changing. Not only did he collect a cheque for €166,059 but he also now has an exemption on the European Tour until the end of 2016.

“I’ve tried so hard to get that European Tour card, for so many years, obviously it’s a massive step for my career because that’s where all South African golfers want to be,” he said. “It was a great day.”

Four things we learned at the Africa Open:

1. It’s been a long road for Trevor Fisher Jr. He turned pro back in 2002 after a successful amateur career. He’s played the majority of his career on the South African Sunshine Tour – he has eight victories on that circuit. He’s attempted Q school for the European Tour on seven occasions but has never been able to get his full playing rights. Now, aged 35, he finally has a chance to play on the European Tour. Fisher Jr. has climbed from 271st to 158th on the Official World Golf Ranking.

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2. Like Fisher Jr., Matt Ford, who finished as runner-up at East London, is something of a late bloomer in terms of his professional career. He’s now 36 and has been a professional for 11 years. He tried and failed to get through European Tour Q school nine times before finally securing his card at the end of 2014. He had viewed November’s Q School as a last chance saloon and had already accepted a job as a postman had he not got through. His second place cheque for €120,000 was the biggest of his career by over €100,000.

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3. South African players continue to dominate the Africa Open. No other country is currently represented on the list of previous winners. Charl Schwartzel took the first competition back in 2010 and, since then, Louis Oosthuizen (twice), Darren Fichardt, Thomas Aiken and now Fisher Jr. have all been champions.

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4. The scoring at the East London Club was exceptional and confirmed the strength in depth of players on the European Tour. Despite many of the circuit’s star names being in Florida for the WGC–Cadillac Championship, no fewer than 66 players beat par for the four rounds. Fisher Jr.’s winning total of 24-under-par equalled the tournament record. Both he and Matt Ford posted four rounds in the 60s.
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