Jaco misses big putt in Euro Masters – but finishes third

Jaco van Zyl’s putt on the 18th in the Omega European Masters was worth more than €70,000, but he didn’t realise it at the time as he finished in a share of third in the Omega European Masters at the weekend.

He took home €103,333 for his share of third with Rory McIlroy and Jamie Donaldson, while Martin Kaymer, who finished second behind winner Thomas Bjorn, banked €222,220.

It also lifted Van Zyl to 44th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings with a total of €419,164.

If he had managed a share of second with Kaymer, he would have earned €173,710 – but in the end, he was just happy to be in the tournament.

He was the last man in after Scott Strange pulled out just ahead of his tee time. “It’s quite amazing considering I woke up on Tuesday morning thinking I was on my way home,” said Van Zyl.

As it turned out, that putt that didn’t go down on the 18th was really the only one which didn’t work for Van Zyl on a superb day as Bjorn took his second European Tour title in two weeks.

“I made a couple of really big snakes today,” said Van Zyl. “On two, I made it from the left hand side of the green up the slope; on seven, I holed it from front right and the flag was back right, so that was a good 40 feet up three tiers; on eight I made another 30 footer; and on 17, that was about 30 feet.”

After his battle in the third round – he lost a ball which never came down from a tree on the fifth – he was thrilled to be in contention.

“Today, I felt good,” he said. “I got off to a nice start, making birdie on the first two holes and a silly bogey on five and then got it going again on seven and eight. I just tried to build on that momentum.”

And then came the putt on 18. “You take them when you can,” he said. “Most of the time, the game takes them from you. You think you’ve got it and they don’t go in, and that happened on 18.”

Behind him, George Coetzee continued his solid form, and, after losing to Bjorn in a playoff in Scotland in the previous tournament, finished in a share of 25th.

But ahead of Coetzee, Keith Horne rode his third-round 65 to the verge of a top-10 finish. He ended up in a share of 12th, eight shots off the lead.

Louis Oosthuizen finished with his best round of the week, a four-under-par 67, and that gave him a share of 35th, with Jbe’ Kruger 48th, Hennie Otto in 61st and James Kingston in 65th. Thomas Aiken and Peter Karmis missed the cut.

But, up front, it was a season-defining performance for the 32-year-old Van Zyl from Lonehill, who went to Europe on the back of two superb years on the Sunshine Tour during which time he won seven of his nine career titles.

“I secured my card a couple of months ago, so the next goal was to get into the Race to Dubai final – and a couple more weeks like this, and I’ll see you guys in Dubai!” he said.

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