JOHANNESBURG (AP) – Henrik Stenson held on to his three-shot overnight lead to win the European Tour's South African Open on Sunday and end a three-year wait for a tournament title.
The Swede finished with a 1-under 71 for a 17-under total of 271 and his first victory since the 2009 Players Championship. It was also Stenson's first win on the European Tour in five years.
“2011 was a tough year with not much good going on on the course for me,'' Stenson said. “I felt I was getting closer and closer and obviously I'm delighted to get a win before the end of the year.''
George Coetzee was second at 14 under after the South African's challenge never really got going in the final round.
Coetzee put himself in contention for his first European title with a course-record 63 on Saturday, and he eagled the par-5 third hole Sunday. But he could manage only two more birdies and had three bogeys for a 71.
Stenson had four birdies, enough for a long-awaited victory despite a wobble midway through his round, when he made bogey on No. 6 and a double bogey on the short ninth hole after dumping his tee shot into the water.
He is only the second foreign player to win the South African Open title in the last decade and sealed his place at the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai after entering this tournament at No. 59 on the money list. The top 60 go to Dubai next weekend.
“It was great that I came down here from the U.S.,'' he said. “One of the big reasons was that I was 59th, so I needed a good week.''
To cap his good week, the 36-year-old Stenson collected a little over $200,000 for the win.
Former top-ranked player Martin Kaymer shot a 67 for a share of third at 13 under with Thomas Aiken. The German finished strongly at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate, going 9 under through the weekend in his South African Open debut.