Doug wins duel at Zwartkops

Doug McGuigan turned three-up, but had to bring his A-game to win after top-seeded Darren Fichardt fought back during round five of the ISPS Handa SA Match Play Championship on Saturday.

“I’m just playing very consistent at the moment. In all of my games so far I’ve gone up early and stayed in play, and in match play that puts pressure on your opponent. So far it’s working,” said McGuigan.

The 42-year-old, who ranked eighth heading into the R2-million tournament, faced his toughest match-up on Saturday, but managed to overcome the three-time European Tour winner 2&1.

“I was obviously happy to beat him,” said McGuigan. “I would rank him as the top player out of the eight, not that there’s anything wrong with the other six guys, but he has more experience with his European career. To beat him is a good scalp.”

The turning point came when McGuigan drained a 15-footer from the fringe for birdie, which put him one ahead.

“It definitely swung a bit at 14. I let him off on the next hole, but that birdie beforehand just helped add pressure, because both of us were feeling it,” he said.

Earlier in the day he had opened at speed, taking a three-hole lead into the turn. But Fichardt fought back, showing just why he’s ranked 96th on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

“I went par, bogey, bogey, he went birdie, par, par and we were back to square,” said McGuigan. “I just managed to stay calm and felt good the whole day. I haven’t made too many bogeys, so I decided to just get back into it.”

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