Aiken wins Africa Open

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iol spt feb16 Aiken-Africa Open

Thomas Aiken holed a long birdie on the first play-off hole on Sunday to maintain a South African monopoly of the Africa Open.

No foreigner has won the seven-year event with Englishman Oliver Fisher the latest to fall just short after finishing level with Aiken on 20-under-par 264 at East London Golf Club.

A wayward second shot by the Londoner at the first extra hole landed left of the green and his chip rolled past the pin, leaving him with a challenging 18th-hole par putt.

But it proved irrelevant as Aiken saw his putt stay on course and it had just enough pace to drop into the hole and give the Johannesburg-born star a third European Tour title.

The 30-year-old, who is ranked 113 in the world, won the 2011 Spanish Open and the Avantha Masters in India last season.

Aiken follows an illustrious list of Africa Open champions with Major winners Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen among previous title-holders.

Darren Fichardt was the lone former champion in action this year and he finished joint fifth, two strokes behind Aiken and Fisher.

A horrendous front-nine 43, including a five-over-par nine on the opening hole, put paid to the hopes of a maiden European triumph by overnight leader Argentine Emiliano Grillo. - AFP


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