His last win in South Africa was in the 2013 Africa Open, and Darren Fichardt held on for the 14th victory of his career on the Sunshine Tour on Friday when he won the R650,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf Final presented by Samsung at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa.
He carded a final round two-under-par 70 to edge one stroke clear of Jake Redman, Callum Mowat and Tyrone Mordt.
“I was lucky that no-one made a charge,” he said. “But then, the last couple of holes, I was hitting the ball well, and was just struggling to make the putts. I was very happy to see I needed three putts for the win, and then I used them all!”
He started his quest for victory in the final round extremely well, with his opening three holes producing par-birdie-eagle. “I got off to a flying start,” he said. “I was three-under after three and I found myself two back!”
Redman, with whom he had been sharing the lead overnight, then produced the shot of the tournament with a hole-in-one on the 221-metre fourth, his four-iron going in, and when Fichardt made par there, he suddenly found himself two back. “When we walked up there, we didn’t know where the ball was,” he said. “We just saw one ball up there, and we though one of us had gone over the green. I was hoping my ball stayed and then we heard clapping. I didn’t think my shot was that good, and then they said Jake’s ball was in the hole. I made par and I was two down after that hole.”
After the thrill of that, Redman had to calm himself down and try and stay ahead in order to win his maiden professional title. He was given some help by Fichardt. “And then I managed to slow down quite a lot,” he said. “But I knew I was playing well enough to just hang on and get the ball in play. I had been putting well the whole week, but I missed a few today. That made me start doubting the lines, but I was confident in the way I was playing and if I continued that way, I should pull it off.”
Redman was also faltering, with three bogeys ahead of the turn, while Fichardt halted his slide and drew level again with a birdie on nine.
Up ahead of them, Mordt had launched a bid for victory with an eagle and two birdies in the six holes after the turn, but he made two bogeys on the stretch to slip off the top of the leaderboard.
Fichardt’s experience began to tell, and when Redman bogeyed the 16th, he knew he just had to hold things together. “Jake is a really great player,” said Fichardt. “He hits it really straight, although he started losing it a bit coming down the stretch. But there was just one shot in it. I was happy he made par on the last hole and didn’t slip out of second. He’s close to a win. He’s close.”