He didn’t know that his nearest pursuer had eagled the 18th, but Trevor Fisher Jnr managed to keep calm as he played out the final hole of the Investec Cup, make par and walk off the green R3.5-million richer.
His one-stroke victory over Jacques Blaauw in the R1-million Sunshine Tour tournament gave him R163,400, but that was small potatoes compared to the bragging rights he has with his eighth Sunshine Tour victory and the winner’s share of the R10-million Bonus Pool of the Chase to the Investec Cup.
“Look, it’s always nice to win, whatever you win,” said Fisher, “whether it’s a winter event on the Sunshine Tour or a co-sanctioned event with the European Tour. It’s another notch on the belt and it gives you confidence. But this is really life-changing, no question about it. I’m so thrilled to win.”
It was a win which was greeted with great pleasure from his fellow professionals, not least Blaauw who congratulated him warmly as he teased him with a reeling-in gesture in the clubhouse when it was revealed to Fisher that he in fact had just a one-stroke cushion on that final hole.
It was a closely fought final round as no fewer than five players had a chance of pulling off the victory: George Coetzee had the lead going into the final round and looked as if he was going to pull off the win he needed to get into the Masters. But a pair of double bogeys – the second almost catastrophic on the 12th as Fisher made birdie to hit the front decisively – derailed his victory charge.
Keith Horne fired a closing five-under-par 67, but a bogey on 17 after his tee shot went awry saw him slip out of contention in frustrating fashion after he had got to 15-under-par with a genuine birdie opportunity awaiting him on 18.
And defending champion Jaco van Zyl had a brilliant tilt at retaining his title after ordinary opening rounds of 71 and 72. He closed with a 66 to go with his third-round 65 at the Lost City, and came within two shots of forcing a play-off.
But it was Blaauw who came closest to Fisher: His bogey on the short par-three 13th saw him drop off the pace, and, as well as he had played for the round, he just could not make a birdie putt after that. But he played a brilliant approach to 18 and rammed home the 10-footer he had for eagle to lay down the gauntlet for Fisher.
Not that Fisher was aware of it. “I thought I just had to make par for a two-stroke win,” he said. “Because of that, I was quite calm coming up the fairway to the 18th, but I’m glad I was able to get the job done.
“It was always going to be tough to win this. I knew I had some quality players behind me and in front of me, so I knew six- or seven-under may not have done the job. I just stuck it out and did my best today, and six-under was good enough.”