SUN CITY - When Darren Fichardt woke up on Thursday morning he wasn’t expecting to be teeing it up in his native South Africa in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.
Come Sunday evening, he was leaving the resort with a share of sixth-place and a cheque for R3.4m.
Anthony Wall’s withdrawal on Thursday meant the five-time European Tour winner was granted a chance to impress the locals, which he duly did with rounds of 71-69 before the weekend.
A Saturday 75 didn’t dampen the 42-year-old’s enthusiasm, though, and he posted a final round of 68 to please the home crowd.
In this game, one man’s misfortune often means an opportunity for someone else. Fichardt proved that with a strong performance to finish as the second-highest placed South African.
Not bad for a man who wasn’t in the field on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, drama is guaranteed this week in Dubai. Tommy Fleetwood could have sewn up the Race to Dubai title with victory in South Africa, but a tied for 10th - meaning Justin Rose or Sergio Garcia could yet win the ultimate prize.
Fleetwood recovered from rounds of 73-74 to post a Saturday 67 and give himself an outside chance of victory on Sunday. Despite his top 10 finish, one of Rose or Garcia now have a chance to win their first Race to Dubai crown.
Rose’s stunning back-to-back successes at the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open meant Fleetwood’s initially comfortable position atop the rankings became a little less certain.
With Masters champion Garcia fresh from victory at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters, fans could be set for an exhilarating finale to the season.