By Agence France-Presse
American Max Homa survived some anxious mid-round moments before cruising to a four-stroke win in the European Tour’s Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club on Sunday.
Starting the final round two strokes ahead of Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, Homa shot a closing six-under-par 66 to finish with a 19-under total of 269.
It was the first win outside the United States for Homa, 32, who has won six times on the PGA Tour.
“It’s been an unbelievable 10-11 days,” said Homa, who together with fellow American Justin Thomas combined a game-viewing safari with their first visit to the self-styled “Africa’s major”.
Olesen twice drew level with Homa but dropped three shots over the last seven holes to finish third with a 274 total.
He was pipped for second place by fellow Dane Nicolai Hojgaard, who shot 69 for 273.
Thomas climbed into fourth place on 276 with a six-under 66. The two Americans shot the equal-best rounds of the day.
Homa made four birdies in the first six holes but Olesen, playing in the group ahead of him, completed the first nine in a five-under 31 to tie Homa.
But the American eagled the par-five ninth after hitting the island green with a 241-yard iron shot from the right rough to pull ahead again.
A poor approach into thick rough on the par-four 11th cost Homa only his third bogey of the week, again dropping him into a tie with Olesen, who had birdied the par-five tenth.
But Olesen bogeyed 12 and 13 and Homa pulled away, although he was lucky on the par-five 14th when a pulled drive seemed headed for thick bush before it struck the golf cart of a rules official and stayed in play. He parred the hole and birdied 16 and 17 to enjoy a relaxed walk up the 18th.
“It was a crazy day of golf,” said Homa. “I had such a great start, but Thorbjorn was playing unbelievable and Nicolai was playing phenomenal golf. I was just thankful I pulled it out in the end.”
England’s Dan Bradbury had an adventurous final round, mixing six birdies with three bogeys and a double bogey to finish in fifth place on his own with a 71 for a 277 total.