Christiaan Bezuidenhout claims title at Leopard Creek

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Christiaan Bezuidenhout claimed his second victory in a memorable year for him as he won the Alfred Dunhill Championship by four strokes at Leopard Creek on Sunday.

Bezuidenhout bounced back from a front nine where he dropped three shots in two holes and then made three key birdies on the back nine to close with a 69 and win on 14-under par.

This was his second victory this year after winning the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour in February, and it came two weeks after he made his debut in the Masters, finishing tied 38th at Augusta National.

It’s also his second European Tour title after his victory in last year’s Andalucia Masters.

“I’m really pleased I pulled it off,” said a delighted Bezuidenhout.

“Leopard Creek has always been a special place for me, and the golf course this week was immaculate. You don’t get much better than this. I’ve always wanted to win this tournament.”

A group of four players finished tied second on 10-under par including South Africa’s Jayden Schaper, England’s Richard Bland, American Sean Crocker and Poland’s Adrian Meronk.

Bezuidenhout started the final round three shots off the lead of Meronk. Meronk struggled to a final round of 76.

The door was briefly open for Schaper as he moved to the top of the leaderboard, but then a back nine of 40 crushed his title hopes as he closed with a 75.

Bezuidenhout also thought he might be out of the running after his double bogey on the seventh and then a bogey on eight.

“I thought after that double bogey on seven it would be tough to come back from there. It was tough out there. We played in a two-club wind that was swirling all over the place. You stood over your ball and it was downwind, and then when you hit it was suddenly into the wind. The pins were also tucked away on the greens. I just tried to play clever golf today. But all credit to my caddie. He stuck in there with me today and we pulled it through together,” he said.

The Sunshine Tour and European Tour South African Swing travels to Sun City this week for the South African Open at the Gary Player Country Club.

Leading scores after final round of the European Tour/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned Alfred Dunhill Championship at par 72 Leopard Creek Country on Sunday (RSA unless noted):

274 – Christiaan Bezuidenhout 69-68-68-69

278 – Richard Bland (ENG) 67-67-74-70, Sean Crocker (USA) 70-68-68-72, Adrian Meronk (POL) 65-66-71-76, Jayden Schaper 69-67-67-75

279 – Marcus Armitage (ENG) 71-71-67-70, Adri Arnaus (ESP) 70-67-69-73, Robert McIntyre (SCO) 72-70-70-67, Scott Jamieson (SCO) 66-71-72-70, Alexander Levy (FRA) 70-72-68-69

280 – Fabricio Zanetti (PAR) 71-71-68-70

Selected:

281 – Wilco Nienaber 71-68-72-70

289 – Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 74-69-74-72

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