South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout kept calm while other challengers faltered and won the Alfred Dunhill Championship by four shots at windy Leopard Creek Country Club in northeastern South Africa Sunday.
The 26-year-old triumphed for the second time on the European Tour by carding a three-under-par final round 69 for a 274 total over a course that borders the Kruger National Park game reserve.
Richard Bland (70) from England, American Sean Crocker (72), Adrian Meronk (76) from Poland and South African Jayden Schaper (75) shared second place on 278.
“This course is close to my heart,” said an emotional Bezuidenhout after adding to his European silverware having won the Andalucia Masters in Spain last year.
“It is a tournament that I desperately wanted to win so this is a very special day for me. I am proud of myself for pulling it off.
“Apart from a double bogey five at seven — my first slip at that hole after three pars between Thursday and Saturday — I was very happy with my final round.”
Bezuidenhout, the lowest ranked golfer in the field at 61, holed long birdie putts at 14 and 15 to build a two-shot advantage.
Playing cautiously as a strong wind troubled many rivals, the South African parred the final three holes for an ultimately comfortable triumph.
– Tee shot hit buggy –
He turned in level par 35 after three birdies, a bogey and a double bogey, then picked up three birdies on the inward nine.
Crocker was only one shot behind as he teed off at 18, but a booming drive veered left, hit the roof of a moving buggy and flew out of bounds.
The visibly upset American hit his fourth shot into the water surrounding the green and ended with a three-over eight.
Meronk, who had topped the leaderboard for three rounds as he sought to become the first Polish winner on the European Tour, faded after dropping three shots in two holes.
He needed four shots to reach the green at 13 and two putted for a bogey before double bogeying 14 following an overhit approach shot on the par four.
Meronk, born in Germany and reared in Poland, found water at the final hole and a bogey six cost him sole occupancy of second place.
The three-event South African swing of the European Tour concludes next week with the South African Open, which was first held in 1903 and is the second oldest national golf championship after the British Open.