Bothma looks for repeat dose in Telkom PGA Championship

He didn’t know it at the time, but Michiel Bothma downed an Open champion in winning last year’s Telkom PGA Championship.

Bothma finished with a brilliant eight-under-par 63 for his final 20-under-par 268, and the leading group included overnight leaders George Coetzee and Louis Oosthuizen.

Oosthuizen was perfectly placed for birdie on the final hole to force the play-off after he had made four birdies and an eagle through 17, and Bothma had agonised over his club selection for his approach as he wondered whether he should be going for the green in two in search of an eagle.

But Oosthuizen ran his birdie putt eight feet past the hole and missed the return for par to give Bothma his second Telkom PGA Championship title.

Oosthuizen, of course, went on to win the Open de Andalucia de Golf in Spain for his maixden European Tour title, and then, famously the 139th Open Championship at St Andrews.

Bothma went on to win another title in 2010, taking the SAA Pro-Am Invitational at Prince’s Grant in KwaZulu-Natal, on that occasion beating Jaco van Zyl, who won four times in 2010 on the Sunshine Tour.

They were both impressive victories, but, of course, not quite in the league of Oosthuizen’s achievements, but nonetheless jewels in the crown of a Sunshine Tour season for Bothma who finished in the top 10 four more times during his 13 starts for his eighth place finish on the Order of Merit.

His start to 2011 has not been that impressive, however, and a share of 48th in last week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am will not have given him too much to work with ahead of one of the premier local tournaments.

But Bothma knows that three of his four wins have come in tournaments sponsored by Telkom, and, as only the 10th player to win the event multiple times since it became a stroke play tournament in 1965, he is in some august company.

He will lift his game and will not relinquish his crown without a spirited defence.

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