Monday, December 09, 2013

Bjorn shines bright in Sun City

Two back nine eagles laid the foundations for the stunning final round 65 which saw Thomas Björn storm to victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge after a thrilling final round at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.  The Dane, who began the final round three shots behind Jamie Donaldson, had to be at his imperious best to hold off the challenge of a charging Sergio Garcia, who matched the 42 year old’s seven under par effort on a brilliant final day at Sun City. Donaldson carded a two under 70 to finish in a tie for second place alongside Garcia, but the day belonged to Björn and Garcia whose titanic battle took the US$6.5 million tournament to the wire. In the end, it was Björn’s two back nine eagles – on the tenth and 14th holes – which made the difference as he collected his 15th European Tour victory and charged to the top of the 2014 Race to Dubai with a 20 under par winning total for a two shot victory margin. “This is right up there with the best days of my career,” said Björn, who took home the biggest cheque of his career worth US$1.25 million.  “You never forget your first victory, and then my win against Tiger in Dubai when I went toe-to-toe with him for four days and came out top was special, but winning here in the way that I did against a field of this quality is up there.  “It’s not often you make two eagles on the back nine on a Sunday when you are in contention and it was just one of those days when it was my day. The five iron I hit into the tenth was the shot of the week, and then I got a bit of luck on 14 because the ball pitched in the bunker and made it to the green but I still had to hole the putt and those are the little breaks you need to win golf tournaments. “I knew I had to shoot something low and then see what Jamie was doing and I knew that Sergio and Henrik (Stenson) would probably make a move. It turned out that it was Sergio and every time I saw a leaderboard he was making birdies. I am very proud of the way I played today – it’s a very special day in my career.” Garcia was delighted with his own performance and admitted he could do little more than doff his cap to Björn.  “It was a great week and a great final round but in the end I just couldn’t catch Thomas. It was one of those days when I was making loads of birdies but he just kept matching me. I couldn’t have done much more and you have to congratulate Thomas on a great victory.” Björn’s address to the South African crowd during the prize giving ceremony ended with a fitting tribute to the nation’s former President Nelson Mandela. "If everyone could live their lives just a little bit like Nelson Mandela, the world would be a better place,” he said.


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