Durban – Scott Jamieson of Scotland won the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship on the second playoff hole at Royal Durban Golf Club on Sunday.
The rain-shortened co-sanctioned Sunshine and European Tour event was reduced to 36 holes and Jamieson, Englishman Steve Webster and Spaniard Eduardo de la Riva all ended tied on seven under – a two-round total of 123.
The three players headed back to the par-four 18th for a sudden-death playoff.
De la Riva fell out of the first playoff hole as he made bogey while the others made regulation pars.
On the second playoff hole, again down 18, Webster drove into the left rough, while Jamieson banged one down the middle.
Jamieson found the green with his approach, with Webster hacking out to the practice green next to the 18th putting surface.
Webster failed to get up-and-down for par and Jamieson had no trouble in two-putting for par and the title.
“It’s absolutely the best achievement of my career,” Jamieson said after his victory.
“I’ve had some nice steady progress for the last four years, starting off when I won the Euro Pro Tour.
“It was a strange day. I mean first thing this morning I wouldn’t have thought I’d be standing with the trophy here. There were six shots between me and the leader, which usually makes it tough, but eight under par was a good score and good enough to get me in the play-off.”
The tournament was reduced to two rounds, the first time since the 2002 Portugal Open a European Tour event was just 36 holes, after play was abandoned on Thursday and Friday due to waterlogged conditions caused by heavy rains.
The course was also cut from its original par of 70 to 65 and saw a number of scores under 60 in the second round.
Tim Clark had led overnight and joined the leaders on seven under with seven holes to play, but a double bogey on 17 lead to him ending joint fourth, the highest placed South African.
Alongside his was fellow round one leader Morten Orum Madsen of Denmark after his 64 in round two, Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer (62) and another Englishman Matthew Nixon (61).
Jaco van Zyl posted a remarkable eight-under 57 on Sunday after a first-round three-over 68 for a 125 total, ending in a share for eighth.
But the day and 2013 season-opening European Tour win belonged to Jamieson, who later matched Van Zyl's effort with an incredible 57 himself.
That set up a ticket to the playoff for the 29-year-old Glaswegian, who bagged R1.3 million for his effort.
“I knew I had to get off to a fast start after a really mediocre round yesterday,” Jamieson said.
“I really had to get up and down to save par at 10 and then I chipped in on 11, which really got me going.
“I built up some momentum from there, made three birdies in a row on the par threes, which doesn’t happen often.
“I just told myself stay patient because the chances would come and they did.
“When I ended on seven-under, I never thought it will be enough to win or get me into a play-off. So it’s fantastic.” – Sapa