Anders Hansen | Player Profile | Nedbank Golf Challengeon October 24, 2011
Denmark’s Anders Hansen makes his return to the Nedbank Golf Challenge on the back of a year in which he established himself in the bigger events, with finishes of third in the WGC Cadillac Championship in March and then third in the 2011 PGA Championship.
Hansen played in his first Nedbank Golf Challenge in 2010 as the winner of the previous season’s Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. His love for South Africa was reflected in his victory in the 2009 Joburg Open and then a few weeks later the Vodacom Championship. “It’s been a great start to the year. Unbelievable. I’m just going to try and ride it because we all know it won’t last a lifetime,” Hansen said at the time. Yet it did last a few months longer. He added a sixth-place finish in the Telkom PGA Championship and third in both the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the South African Open to easily win the Order of Merit title, becoming the first European to do so since 1972.
The Dane’s Joburg Open victory seemed an unlikely one as he only made the halfway cut by a single stroke. But a 64 on the Saturday changed everything. “Suddenly I was only one off the pace,” Hansen said. “In the final round I made five birdies in the first nine holes and I held on on the back nine for the win.” Hansen closed with a 66 on the East Course to claim the victory by one stroke on 15-under-par 269. “I guess if there’s a message here, it’s to never give up hope,” he said.
Hansen’s progress has been steady since he graduated from the University of Houston, where he won twice on the college circuit to add to his victories in the Danish Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 1992 and 1994. He turned professional in 1995, but had to wait a few years before making his mark. In 1999 he was first able to secure his card on the European Tour.
Hansen has won four times on the European Tour, most notably his record-breaking victory in the 2002 Volvo PGA Championship, where his 19-under-par 269 was a new low aggregate for the West Course at Wentworth. He ended that year in 16th place on the European Tour’s Order of Merit.
The 2006 season was one of Hansen’s finest, yielding six top-10s. The highlight was his third-place finish in the Dubai Desert Classic, where he played the last two rounds in the final group with Tiger Woods and Retief Goosen, and a second place in the Italian Open. He earned his playing privileges on the PGA Tour in 2007, but failed to keep his card there for the following season.
In 2007 he returned to Wentworth to again win one of the European Tour’s flagship tournaments – the BMW PGA Championship. Then it was the turn of South Africa to witness his talent on local fairways as he dominated the summer leg of the 2009 season here. Hansen certainly does things his own way, such as when he raised a few eyebrows by skipping the US Open this year in order to take a break and focus on doing well on the European Tour. But with a few big events under his belt, the Dane is now poised to do something great at Sun City.
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