Coetzee storms back to win Joburg Open
02/09/2014 8:32 AM
02/09/2014 10:11 AM
Johannesburg, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - George Coetzee fired a 6- under 66 on Sunday to come from behind and win the Joburg Open.
Coetzee, who entered the day four strokes behind overnight leaders Justin Walters and Thomas Aiken, earned his first career win on the European Tour at 19-under-par 268.
"I don't know what I'm feeling," Coetzee said about the win. "I'm lost for words. I've been waiting a while and I started doubting, so I'm very happy."
Walters carded a 1-over 73 during his final round on Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club's East Course to fall into a share of second place with Tyrrell Hatton (66) and Jin Jeong (71) at 16-under 271.
Aiken (74) also struggled Sunday to drop into a tie for fifth with Andy Sullivan (65), Alvaro Quiros (66) and Matthew Baldwin (67) at minus-15.
With the top three players being awarded an invitation to the British Open, Jeong and Walters will join Coetzee at Royal Liverpool as they entered the week ranked higher than Hatton in the world rankings.
Aiken was the first to grab the outright lead during the final round when he birdied the first to move to 18-under and a stroke clear of Walters.
But Aiken then bogeyed the third to fall back into a tie for the top spot.
After Aiken and Walters both birdied the sixth to reach 18-under, the duo traded bogeys at the eighth to drop to minus-17.
Coetzee, meanwhile, posted an outward 33 with birdies at Nos. 1, 4, 6 and 8 to make it a three-way tie for the lead.
Coetzee carried his momentum around the turn with a 6-foot birdie putt at the 10th to claim sole possession of first at 18-under.
Aiken tripped to a bogey at the 12th to fall to two shots off the pace before Walters and Aiken both dropped a shot at the 13th to fall to 16- and 15-under, respectively.
Coetzee birdied the 15th from 20 feet to stretch his advantage to three strokes. He parred his final three holes to finish at 19-under.
Walters birdied the 16th to pull back within two strokes of Coetzee, but he would get not closer and bogeyed the last to lose his sole possession of second place.
NOTES: Coetzee had collected 24 top-10 finishes in 106 career European Tour starts prior to his maiden win. He was the sixth South African champion in the event's eight years ... Walters will be making his first British Open appearance, while Jeong will play in his second. Jeong tied for 14th in his first British Open in 2010.
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