Darren Fichardt earned his first top-10 on the European Tour since the 2015 Open de Espana at last weeks BMW International Open, finishing tie-second on 14-under-par, three back of eventual winner Henrik Stenson.
Fichardt’s recent form has left much to be desired, but the 41-year-old from Pretoria says he drew inspiration from watching Dustin Johnson claim the 116th U.S. Open Championship.
“I saw Dustin Johnson last week and I saw how patient he was. He wasn’t putting great but he still managed to do pretty well. So I just said to myself, just stay patient. The greens are obviously soft from the rain and the wind pumps every now and again and yeah it turned out pretty well,” explained Fichardt.
On 14-under-par, shooting 68, 69, 68 and 69, Fichardt unfortunately bogeyed the last hole to drop back to share second place with Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.
“I thought the guys were going low until I finished 13 – the par-five. I walked past the scoreboard and saw I was tie for the lead. I thought what are the guys doing? So then – 14 was pretty tough and 15 into the wind and 16 is no walkover. I made a good birdie on 17 and 18 is just a brutal hole. You’ve got to hit the fairway and I missed it. I hit a pretty good chip shot and had a good chance at par there, but I’m still happy with the week.”
Coming off a tie-second finish, Fichardt is understandably eager to build on his performance, and he will get a great opportunity to test himself amongst the world’s best at the 100th Open de France.
“I’m very excited for next week because of the way I’m hitting it. I’m hitting it very straight and I am putting and chipping really well. I just feel like my old self again. So I’m very excited for the next couple of tournaments.
The 100th Open de Espana will be played at Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, and it’s a golf course that, according to Fichardt, is a true test of character.
“You know when you’re not on your game, I hate it there. But when you are on your game it’ a very rewarding golf course, so I’m looking forward to it. “