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Golf: Coetzee tops Olesen in Mauritius; Singapore’s Mardan third

George Coetzee won a playoff at the Mauritius Open, the first event tri-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Sunshine Tours. Photo: Asian Tour.

George Coetzee won a playoff at the tri-sanctioned Mauritius Open. Photo: Asian Tour.

May 10, 2015: South African George Coetzee won the inaugural AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open by defeating Danish youngster Thorbjorn Olesen with a birdie on the second playoff hole on Sunday.

 

Coetzee, the overnight leader, and Olesen ended regulation play tied on 13-under-par 271 at the Heritage Golf Club following final rounds of two-under-par 69 and 68 respectively before the South African sealed his seventh Sunshine Tour title and second of 2015.

 

Tri-sanctioned by the Asian, European and Sunshine Tours, the historic €1 million (approximately US$1.1 million) tournament enjoyed a fitting conclusion with Singaporean veteran Mardan Mamat (67) taking third on 12-under to ensure all three tours were represented in the top three.

 

Coetzee, 28, seemed in control early on Sunday, as three birdies in his opening five holes earned him a four-shot cushion. However, Olesen, playing in his first event in three months following hand surgery, fought superbly and it was Coetzee who needed to birdie 18 in regulation to force extra-time.

 

Both players opened with birdies on the playoff hole, the par-five 18th, but after Olesen found the fairway trap with his drive on the second extra hole, Coetzee took full advantage to claim the champion’s cheque of US$186,545.

 

“I actually felt more nervous during the day than the playoff and I’m happy to have pulled through it,” said Coetzee, who at World No. 63 was the field’s highest-ranked player.

 

“Thorbjorn did unbelievably well to put pressure on me the whole day and I actually had to work to catch him in the end. All in all, I’m happy the job is done and it doesn’t matter how many holes it took.”

 

Olesen, who was chasing his third European Tour victory, said: “It’s disappointing, of course, when you are in a playoff and you don’t win. George hit some great shots in the playoff to get two birdies, as it’s not an easy hole, so big congratulations to him.

 

“I didn’t expect this before the tournament so to be in a playoff is unbelievable when I haven’t been in a tournament for three months.”

 

Mardan Mamat finished third after the 47-year-old Singaporean closed with a 67.

Mardan Mamat, 47, finished third after the Singaporean closed with a 67.

Mardan, 47, closed with a fine 67, which included birdies on 16 and 18, as he fell one shot shy of the playoff. After a bogey at the fourth, he fought back brilliantly with three straight birdies to stay in contention.

 

I needed a good start, which I didn’t get, but I had a good finish, which was good. I tried to push it on the back nine, but couldn’t get it until the last three holes,” said the four-time Asian Tour winner.

 

Mardan lamented some misfortune on the par-three 15th hole when what looked like a perfect tee-shot hit the pin flag and then nearly rolled into the watery grave. He made par before finishing with a flourish, bagging birdies on 16 and 18.

 

“I got unlucky on that par-three. I’m still pleased. When I came here, I was practising at home and was striking it well and was hoping for a good result and I did it. This is the first tri-sanctioned event and to finish in the top-five, I’m happy,” he said. “I have my wife Naz here, we had a holiday and at the same time I can make money and play golf.”

 

Thomas Aiken (70) of South Africa finished fourth on 11-under, one ahead of Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura, England’s John Parry and Australian Scott Hend, who all shot 66.

 

AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open (Asian / European / Sunshine Tours), Heritage GC, Mauritius

271: George COETZEE (Rsa) 70-67-65-69, Thorbjorn OLESEN (Den) 65-68-70-68

(Coetzee won title with birdie on the second hole of sudden-death play-off)

272: Mardan MAMAT (Sin) 69-69-67-67

273: Thomas AIKEN (Rsa) 69-66-68-70

274: Masahiro KAWAMURA (Jpn) 68-69-71-66, John PARRY (Eng) 67-70-71-66, Scott HEND (Aus) 72-66-70-66

276: Bernd RITTHAMMER (Ger) 71-70-68-67, Oliver BEKKER (Rsa) 66-71-71-68, Merrick BREMNER (Rsa) 71-70-66-69

277: Rahil GANGJEE (Ind) 67-70-74-66, Tjaart VAN DER WALT (Rsa) 73-66-69-69

278: Richard T. LEE (Can) 72-68-72-66, Keith HORNE (Rsa) 70-69-71-68, Justin WALTERS (Rsa) 67-73-69-69, Pelle EDBERG (Swe) 68-66-74-70, Jake ROOS (Rsa) 70-71-67-70, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (Tha) 69-70-68-71, Andrew MCARTHUR (Sco) 68-70-68-72

 

Source: Asian Tour (www.asiantour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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