25 November 2013
Denmark’s Morten Orum Madsen claimed his first European Tour title when he captured the South African Open at the Glendower Golf Club in Johannesburg on Sunday.
“To have the SA Open as my first victory on the European Tour is extremely special,” he said after securing the title. “If you look down the list of names that have won this tournament in the past there are major champions and really great champions all around, so it’s an honour.”
‘An amazing feeling’
“From the very first time I played in South Africa I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Madsen said. “Obviously when we Europeans come down here it’s tough to compete with South Africans, because they are used to the conditions with the altitude and weather. I always thought I would play pretty well in South Africa, but I didn’t expect to win. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Madsen, the first Dane to win the South African Open, closed with a five-under-par 67 for a four-round total of 19-under-par 269, two shots better than Jbe Kruger and Hennie Otto, who went around in seven-under-par 65 and 68 respectively.
It was a disappointing final round for one of the tournaments favourites, Charl Schwartzel, who led after three rounds but managed only a one-under 71 in the final round to share fourth place with Italy’s Marco Crespi on 272.
The event, which was co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour, served as the first tournament on the 2014/European Tour schedule, which meant Madsen vaulted to the top of the Race to Dubai standings. The South African Open is the first of a record eight South African tournaments on the European Tour.
Madsen’s previous best result on the Tour was a tie for second earlier this year in the Madeira Islands Open in Portugal. It was also his third top 10 finish in South Africa after he placed fourth in the 2013 Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa and eighth in the 2013 Tshwane Open.
The 25-year-old Dane was paired with 2011 US Masters champion Schwartzel, South Africa’s highest ranked golfer, for the final round and in the early going it looked like Schwartzel was going to bag his first South African Open victory.
He birdied the second, third and fourth holes to move to 18-under-par, but a triple- bogey on the sixth and a double-drop on the tenth dropped him back before he sank three more birdies in a roller coaster last 18 holes. Madsen, meanwhile, was steady throughout and didn’t drop a shot on his way to a five-under-par round.
Hennie Otto, the 2011 South African Open champion, looked on his way to a second national open title after four birdies on the front nine and successive birdies from the 12th to the 14th left him with a four-shot lead with four to play. However, a bogey on the 15th and a double-bogey on the 16th undid his good work.
Three more tournaments, co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and European Tour, take place in South Africa within the next month, with the Leopard Creek Country Club hosting the Alfred Dunhill Championship from 28 November to 1 December, the Gary Player Country Club hosting the Nedbank Golf Challenge from 5 to 8 December, and Mount Edgecombe Country Club hosting The Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa from 12 to 15 December.
- Morten Orum Madsen (Den) 269 (-19) 67, 66, 69, 67
- Jbe Kruger (RSA) 271 (-17) 65, 70, 71, 65
- Hennie Otto (RSA) 271 (-17) 72, 66, 65, 68
- Marco Crespi (Ita) 272 (-16) 65, 67, 70, 70
- Charl Schwartel (RSA) 272 (-16) 67, 65, 69, 71
- Alejandro Canizares (Esp) 273 (-15) 69, 67, 69, 68
- Johan Carlsson (Swe) 274 (-14) 69, 70, 68, 67
- Trevor Fisher jnr (RSA) 274 (-14) 70, 67, 73, 64
- Warren Abery (RSA) 275 (-13) 68, 71, 68, 68
- Christiaan Basson (RSA) (-12) 66, 68, 71, 71
- Garth Mulroy (RSA) (-12) 70, 67, 70, 69