It took one extra hole, but Tommy Fleetwood outlasted Marcus Kinhult on Sunday to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Fleetwood and Kinhult finished at 12-under-par 276 at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa, before Fleetwood made par on the first playoff hole – the par-4 18th – to clinch victory.
“Golf is a funny old game and all we want to do is win,” Fleetwood 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.”
Victory in the European Tour’s penultimate tournament of the season earned the 28-year-old Englishman $2.5 million.
“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,” he said.
Fleetwood started the final round six strokes off the lead but made eagles on Nos. 9, 10 and 14, plus four birdies and three bogeys, to close with 65. Kinhult, a 23-year-old Swede, closed with 68 as he looked for his second victory of the season after winning the Betfred British Masters, a tournament Fleetwood hosted, in May. Kinhult hit a poor tee shot on the playoff hole, prompting him to play out sideways and leading to a bogey. Fleetwood, meanwhile, got up and down for par.
The victory was Fleetwood’s fifth European Tour title but his first since January 2018. Still, he has been remarkably consistent, making the cut in 41 consecutive starts worldwide.
Despite falling short, Kinhult expressed satisfaction about his performance in Sun City, where he had finished last in 2018.
“I’m proud,” Kinhult said. “I shot a good score today, got into the playoff and made a silly bogey but I’m happy with the week and how I played. It’s a good week.”
South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen held a share of the lead at the turn on Sunday but shot 40 on the back nine and finished T6 after closing with 75.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, who leads the Race to Dubai entering this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, closed with 70 to finish T3 at 8 under. Australian Jason Scrivener (closing 70) and Belgian Thomas Detry (74) matched Wiesberger with 280 totals.
RESULTS | RACE TO DUBAI
Staff and Wire Reports