Bjorn pulls off great Nedbank heist

Thomas Bjorn eagled the 10th and 14th at Gary Player Country Club during his Sunday march to victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which he won by two shots on 20-under-par.


“There were two big moments, obviously the two eagles on the back nine on a Sunday, that does not happen very often. I am proud of myself this week, I kept to my game plan, I played really well,” he said.


The Dane’s 15th European Tour win came on the back of a final-round 65. The 42-year-old began the day three shots back from the lead, but everything went his way and he lifted the trophy and claimed the biggest pay cheque of his career.


“The golf I played this week was so good and I take that with me.  I am 42 and every year, you think if this is going to be the season where is starts not going so well.  So to start my 40s like this is just unbelievable,” he said.


Bjorn’s second eagle of the day came at the par-five 14th, where his approached skipped off the sand in a greenside bunker and landed on the green.


“It pitched in the bunker, I did not get the height on the ball that I wanted to and it pitched in the bunker and rolled up onto the green and I holed the putt.


“I had to big moments today, the five iron into 10 was probably the best shot of the week and the eagle there also gave me the lead. Obviously the shot into 14 a bit fortunate, but that is what happens when you win golf tournaments,” he said.


Jamie Donaldson held the 54-hole lead on 16-under-par, but failed to keep pace and carded 70 for the final round. The Welshman shared second alongside Spain’s Sergio Garcia (right), who carded 65 for his final round and totalled 18-under-par for the week.


Super Swede Henrik Stenson made four birdies over the stretch to take sole fourth on 16-under, while Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge finished sole fifth a further stroke off the pace.


The local charge was headed up by Charl Schwartzel, who shot 66 for the final round to finish alone in sixth place on 13-under. Darren Fichardt had a tough day at Gary Player Country Club, but still managed a 12th-place finish. In contrast to Fichardt’s struggles was Richard Sterne’s 30-shot back nine, which earned him a share of 14th alongside Louis Oosthuizen.


For Bjorn the victory refilled his confidence tank, but his first win in South Africa came during a sad time for the nation, who mourned the loss of former president Nelson Mandela after his passing on Wednesday night.


“Nelson Mandela was a man of the world, not just a man of South Africa. The man meant so much to everybody and he had the ability to see the best in everything. If we can all just do a little bit more, or be a little bit more like him, this world will be a better place. That’s the inspiration that he left,” he said.


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