Day 4 – As it happenedon December 8, 2013
16:36 – He’s done it! Perhaps not in the style replicating the other 71 holes, but a missed par putt at 18 is enough for Bjorn to seal a two-shot victory and a cheque for $1.25 million. What a fantastic performance by the Dane today. A 65 that included two eagles, and his unflappable ball-striking display leaves him a richly deserved winner. Garcia and Donaldson finish in a share of second on 18 under, and Stenson in fourth two strokes further adrift. It’s been a great week here at Sun City, and we once again boast a great champion. Can’t wait for next year already! See you then folks.
16:18 – Well that should be that I fancy. Garcia misses a fairly make-able birdie putt at 17, and Bjorn makes as steady a par as you’ll see there. He can now enjoy his walk down 18 with a three-stroke cushion.
16:02 – Schwartzel brings rapturous applause out from the gallery by the 18th green as a birdie closes out a final-round 66. He finishes 13 under, and looks set to finish in sixth place. Another good effort from the former Masters champion here, but his wait to get his name on the great trophy goes on.
15:54 – This could be game over I’m afraid. Garcia misses an eight footer for par at the 16th, and slips back to 18 under. It’s a three-shot ball game now, and Thomas has the finish line in his sights.
15:46 – Incredible stuff here, as Sergio makes his eighth birdie of the day at the 15th. But the gap of one stroke is short lived, as Bjorn follows suit. Unbelievable! The Spanish maestro is doing his utmost to catch him, but the Dane refuses to open the door.
15:34 – Bjorn holes his eagle putt! Goodness me, that takes him to 20 under, two clear of Garcia, and may well be the crushing blow! Seven under for the day; the same as the Spaniard. What an exhibition of golf these guys are putting on. Donaldson only manages par there and is three adrift. Further ahead, Brendon de Jonge rolls in a lovely birdie at the par-three 16th, and the Zimbabwean breaches the 16-under mark.
15:26 – Oh ho ho! Henrik you gem! Chips in for birdie at the 14th to get up to 15 under. Garcia is not to be outdone though, and two putts for his four. He now shares the lead with Bjorn, but I fancy it won’t last long as the Dane’s second shot from behind them runs through the bunker and ominously finishes 15 feet from the pin. It’s all happening on that epic green!
15:14 – Oh no Ryan, how did that stay out! It just isn’t his day, as his birdie effort finishes on the lip at 13. He remains 13 under, too far back now I’m afraid. Bjorn and Donaldson make their pars, so the former leads by one from the Englishman and Garcia.
15:02 – Schwartzel birdies the 14th to reach 13 under, while the leader Bjorn has consolidated his eagle with two pars. No birdies from Garcia, Donaldson or De Jonge since, so it’s as you were at the top.
14:31 – We have a new leader folks, and his name is Thomas Bjorn! A sensational approach to the 10th hole sets up a comfortable eagle, and he reaches 18 under to lead by one. Donaldson only manages a par, while Garcia remarkably chips and putts from the putting surface at 11 to save par. But don’t count Brendon de Jonge out just yet! He holes a beauty at the 12th, and he’s 15 under. Pulsating stuff here at Sun City!
14:13 – Disaster for Moore at the ninth, as he ends up amongst the rocks. He all but fresh airs his chip, and walks away with a nasty double bogey. But even more dramatically, playing partner Donaldson finds the drink and makes bogey. We have a tie for the lead now folks, and Bjorn is just one behind after his birdie there
13:58 – What sensational stuff from Sergio! A four at the ninth hole completes a run of four birdies in a row! An outward nine of 30 puts him at 17 under, and, despite a birdie at the seventh for Donaldson, he has a mere one-shot cushion now.
13:20 – Sergio is at it again! What a birdie, what a charge. He puts it close at the seventh and makes no mistake with the putt. Let’s not forget Bjorn though – he buries a twenty footer at the sixth to stay level pegging with the Spaniard. The pair are breathing fire into this final day, just two behind Donaldson now.
13:07 – Ah, so Jamie couldn’t be kept down for too long then. He opens his birdie account by tapping in at the fifth hole following an absolute beauty of an approach shot. He goes to 17 under, but does so amidst roars up ahead as Garcia almost holes his approach shot at the sixth! The on-fire Spaniard gets it up to 14 under, three adrift along with Bjorn.
12:52 – Another one for the Zimbabwean at the sixth hole as he delightfully curls in a ten-foot left-to-righter. But his sole possession of fifth place was short lived, as Thongchai Jaidee chips in at the fifth to join him on 12 under. Donaldson holding steady at 16 under though with a par at the fourth.
12:39 – Henrik’s putter has gone cold it seems. Three putts at the third hole leads to a bogey, and he misses a six footer for birdie at the fourth after a lovely tee shot. He stays 11 under, along Brendon de Jonge, who makes his second red number of the day at the fifth.
12:30 – Wonderful start for Charl Schwartzel here, as he makes his third birdie of the day at the fifth hole to reach double digits. Donaldson only manages a par at the second hole, while Bjorn makes birdie to whittle the lead down to two. Garcia nearly joins him, as his putt for a third successive birdie lips out.
12:08 – Sergio bags himself another one at the second hole, and he’s now keeping Moore and Bjorn company at 13 under! He definitely appears to have his tail up; riding the wave of a fine back nine yesterday. Stenson also makes a four there to get to 12 under, as Donaldson opens with a steady par.
11:51 – And the leaders are away. Ryan Moore leaks one well to the right, almost on the ninth hole. Thomas Bjorn hits a better one that just finds the first cut, while leader Jamie Donaldson also finds the tall stuff on the right. But up ahead it’s first blood to Sergio Garcia as he birdies the first. The Spaniard goes to 12 under now; four behind Donaldson.
11:40 – Henrik Stenson bombs the famous three wood up the first to kick off his day. His last one before a much deserved break. Let’s see if he can put on a show for us one last time this year. Up ahead, Brendon de Jonge misses a 10 foot putt for birdie and remains nine under.
11:16 – Playing partners Francesco Molinari and Victor Dubuisson make lovely birdie fours at the second hole, and the latter moves into red numbers. Meanwhile the big guns are leaving the practice range, ready for what should be an entertaining day.
10:47 – Double bogey for Ernie at the second hole, and another bogey at the third. A terrible shame to see him struggling like this.
10:10 – And so it begins – the business end of the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge! Ernie Els get things started with a poor drive that finds some jungle. American Kevin Streelman follows suit, while Peter Senior finds the fairway bunker. Safe to say they haven’t peaked too early.