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Erik van Rooyen SA’s best as Thomas Pieters claims narrow win in Abu Dhabi

Thomas Pieters celebrates with his caddie Adam Marrow after winning in Abu Dhabi. Picture: Ryan Lim/AFP

Thomas Pieters celebrates with his caddie Adam Marrow after winning in Abu Dhabi. Picture: Ryan Lim/AFP

Published Jan 23, 2022

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Johannesburg - South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen fired a final round two-under 70 to finish in a tie for 12th at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, at Yas Links, on Sunday.

Van Rooyen ended on five-under for the week, five behind Belgian Thomas Pieters who claimed a one-shot victory ahead of Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello and India’s Shubhankar Sharma.

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The 31-year-old Van Rooyen began the day in 22nd position, but quietly went about his business to move up 10 spots on the leaderboard. In fact, it was a steady day out for Van Rooyen as he managed three birdies and just one bogey in the difficult scoring conditions.

Dean Burmester and Justin Harding both finished on three-under in a tie for 25th. Burmester was the biggest mover of the SA players on day four, rocketing 19 positions up the leaderboard with his three-under 69. Harding moved in the other direction in the final round, with his two-over 74 dropping him down 14 places.

Charl Schwartzel also had a frustrating round, with his four-over 76 seeing him fall down 28 places to a tie for 39th on one-under for the tournament. The 2011 Masters champion Schwartzel’s scores for the event had a fair bit of symmetry to them with five-under (67) to open, followed by a four-over 76, then a four-under 68 and finally a four-over 76 to conclude his work for the week.

Justin Walters finished 48th with a one-over 73, and also one-over overall. SA Open champion Daniel van Tonder ended tied 68th on seven-over, while Brandon Stone was two strokes behind on nine-over in 72nd position.

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