It took a superb hole-out from a greenside bunker on the 18th on Sunday for Merrick Bremner to win the R800,000 BMG Classic at Glendower Golf Club.
The resultant birdie took him to five-under-par 67 for his closing round and 12-under-par for the tournament, and, when Darren Fichardt’s five-footer for birdie on the last edged its way past the hole, Bremner had a one-stroke edge. Rookie Haydn Porteous was third, a further shot back.
“It took more than one good shot to win the tournament,” said Bremner, “but that bunker shot on the last was something special. It was a very difficult shot, I think about 20 metres, and a little bit of turn from left to right. I just caught it perfectly, watched it bounce and trickle in.”
It had been a tough opening nine for all the contenders as the wind picked up and swirled around Glendower. Bremner dropped a shot on the ninth to turn level, but Fichardt had a real battle when bogeyed six and then made double on eight when he was unable to get his ball out of a bunker the first time. He turned in three-over-par 39.
Fichardt was able to pull things back on the back nine, making three birdies to make up for his dropped shots, but, in the end, Bremner’s back nine was a little too good for everyone: He made five birdies without dropping a shot to record his fourth Sunshine Tour victory, and equalled the best round of the day with his 67 matching the scores of Porteous and Jacques Kruyswijk.
“The wind was gusting around at the beginning of the round,” said Bremner, “swopping directions all the time. It was just hard to pick a club and to read the wind, and when you got things right, you just had to take advantage of that. Thankfully, I managed to do that.
“I was grinding out the front nine, and then I missed a birdie opportunity on eight, and then I made bogey on nine. After that, I made a good par on 10 and then I went birdie-birdie. I thought if I could try and get three more with two par-fives to come, I’d have a chance.
“When I was walking down 15, I looked across and saw Darren was eight or nine-under, and so was I at the time, so I knew I had to have a strong finish,” added Bremner.
With Bremner trying to play his way onto the European Tour, he rated his fourth title very highly. “I haven’t played on the Sunshine Tour for about seven weeks,” he said, “so it is good to be back in South Africa and to be playing well.”
He had only finished inside the top 10 three times this year before the victory, so the win will catapult him into an important period on the Sunshine Tour with form on his side.
Also helpful is the knowledge that he can produce bunker shots like the one that brought him victory almost at will: “I had been in about 20 bunkers this week, and not come close to holing out,” he said. “So I said to my caddie that we were due for a change in fortunes and I was going to hole it.”