“Everybody strives for the same thing week-in, week-out and unless you do you’re never satisfied, even finishing second”
England’s Tommy Fleetwood overcame Swede Marcus Kinhult in a play-off to win his second Rolex Series title at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City yesterday.
The Englishman started the final day at Gary Player Country Club six shots off the lead but made three eagles as he signed for a stunning closing 65 to set the target at 12-under.
Kinhult was a picture of consistency in a final round 68 as he looked for a second European Tour title of the season after his victory at the Betfred British Masters.
A poor tee shot on the first play-off hole meant Kinhult had to play out sideways and settle for a bogey, with Fleetwood making an excellent up-and-down to save par and win $2.5 million (R36.7m) – the biggest winner’s prize in European Tour history.
The victory takes Fleetwood up to second on the Race to Dubai rankings as he looks to be crowned Europe’s No 1 for the second time in three seasons at next week’s season finale in Dubai.
Fleetwood’s fifth European Tour win is his first since January 2018 and the culmination of an incredibly consistent run of form that has seen him make 41 consecutive cuts worldwide.
“Golf is a funny old game and all we want to do is win,” he said. “Everybody strives for the same thing week-in, week-out and unless you do you’re never satisfied, even finishing second. I was struggling with levels of expectation because I wasn’t playing how I thought that I should or achieving the things that I wanted to.
Race to Dubai
It’s such a great, great thing and a feeling to be playing with a chance to win the Race to Dubai in the last event. Everybody starts the Tour at the start of the season to get there and to be one of the guys that can actually finish at the top is very special.
“At a young age now you have a chance to set your family up for life and I think of all my achievements that’s the thing I’m most proud of.
“It’s great to have something like that and put that one in the bank account but nothing comes close to holding this trophy – this is the most special thing.”
Fleetwood had made an incredible bunker save for par on the first and then birdied the second with two putts, holed a 25-foot left-to-righter on the fifth and made another gain on the sixth to edge up the leaderboard.
A chip-in eagle on the par five ninth saw him turn in 31 and put him two off the lead before he put his second to 15 feet at the par five 10th for a second consecutive eagle and a share.
He sent his tee shot into the rough on the 11th and dropped another shot on the 12th but put his second on the 14th to 10 feet for a third eagle of the day and a share of the lead once more.
Fleetwood led by two when he birdied the 15th after getting a fortunate bounce off a greenside sprinkler but he gave the shot straight back when he failed to get up and down on the 16th.
Fleetwood set the target as he parred his last two holes and Kinhult finished with three pars, holding his nerve to get up and down after a poor second on the last to set up the play-off.
Home favourite Louis Oosthuizen was in a share of the lead at the turn but came home in 40 to finish at seven-under alongside defending champion Lee Westwood of England.