Bjorn storms to victory at NGC

by Golfer on

A blistering final round of 65 by Thomas Bjorn blew his competitors away as he earned a two-stroke win and a 15th European Tour title at the Nedbank Golf Challenege on Sunday.

The Dane, who started the day three strokes behind overnight leader Jamie Donaldson, kept himself in the hunt with an outward nine of 33, and proceeded to quite simply power his way to victory on the Gary Player Country Club’s second nine as he amassed two eagles and a birdie to finish on a 20-under par total of 268.

An inspired Sergio Garcia (65) produced eight birdies in his first 15 holes, and kept pace with Bjorn until a bogey at the par-three 16th hole ended his title hopes. The Spaniard had to settle for a share of second place on 18 under with Donaldson (70), whose challenge faded after a bogey at the par-five ninth hole.

World number three Henrik Stenson produced a polished 67 to take fourth place on 16 under, while Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge (66) impressed once again and finished fifth a further stroke adrift.

Charl Schwartzel’s final round 66 left him as the highest-placed South African on 13 under, while Justin Rose (67) and American Ryan Moore (73) shared seventh one stroke behind the 2011 Masters champion.

It was Garcia who made the early moves as he opened with two consecutive birdies. A run of four in a row from the sixth hole then completed a sensational outward nine of 30. Donaldson found the water at the ninth, and his resultant bogey there left him in a share of the lead with the Spaniard at the turn.

But Bjorn’s three birdies on the first nine kept him within one stroke of the duo, and an eagle at the par-five 10th catapulted the 42-year old to the top of the leaderboard. Garcia continued to rally with birdies at the 14th and 15th, but Bjorn refused to relinquish his lead. A second eagle at the 14th, combined with Garcia’s blemish at the 16th, then left him in cruise control, and a bogey on the 72nd hole proved to be merely academic.

The win lands Bjorn a Christmas windfall of $1.25 million, and he becomes the second Dane to win on the European Tour in the 2014 Race to Dubai after Morten Orum Madsen’s triumph at the South African Open a fortnight ago.

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