JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen was unable to convert an overnight four-shot lead into victory with a final round two-over 74, as he settled for a share of fourth at the Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal, Ireland, on Sunday.
Van Rooyen ended on a 12-under total, two shots outside a play-off in which Scotland’s Russell Knox beat Kiwi Ryan Fox to take the title.
Despite not being able to find that elusive first European Tour title, Van Rooyen will console himself with a suitably hefty paycheque of R4.3m. His payout in Ireland is more than double his previous best earnings for an event, when he finished second at the Joburg Open in December when he banked R1.7m.
Sleeping on a big lead did little good for Van Rooyen’s game as he could only manage two birdies on day four, while he made four bogies as the chasing pack moved ahead.
The 28-year-old battled to find any precision in his iron-play, while the putter also turned cold.
Zander Lombard, meanwhile, moved up the leaderboard with a closing 69 to finish on nine-under in a tie for sixth for the week. His top finish meant he also earned entry into The Open Championship at Carnoustie starting on July 19.
Dylan Frittelli was further down in 14th spot on six-under overall, while Christiaan Bezuidenhout was one shot behind on five-under in 19th place. George Coetzee was 24th on four-under.
African News Agency (ANA)