After 107 starts and 24 top ten finishes, George Coetzee finally secured his maiden European Tour title at the Joburg Open.
The 27-year-old shot a closing six-under-par 66 to win by three shots from fellow South African Justin Walters, England’s Tyrell Hatton, and Jin Jeong from South Korea.
In the process, Coetzee also stamped his ticket for the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
“I don’t know what I’m feeling,” said Coetzee afterwards. “I’m lost for words. I’ve been waiting a while and I started doubting, so I’m very happy.
“I got to share this with my family and my friends. It was my mum’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to do it for her as I forgot to buy her a present!”
"It was my mum’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to do it for her as I forgot to buy her a present!” - George Coetzee
Coetzee’s win was the sixth by a South African in eight editions of the tournament and his winner’s cheque for €206,050 also propelled him into eighth place on the Race To Dubai. Better still, he climbed 15 places on the Official World Golf Rankings to 59th.
Coetzee’s joy, however, was in stark contrast to the disappointment of Johannesburg-born Walters who came up just short in his search for a maiden European Tour title. The 33-year-old was, though, able to console himself with a place in his maiden major, after securing one of the three Open Championship spots that were up for grabs.
“Beginning of the week if you gave me second place I would have put my feet up and taken it, but I’m a little disappointed,” said Walters. “It’s bittersweet, though, because I’ve earned a place at The Open and that’s the major we’ve all dreamed of playing in since we were kids.”
Alistair Forsyth was the top Scot, in a tie for 31st. But for a closing round of 76, the Glasgow man could have enjoyed a much better finish. Craig Lee (T49) and David Drysdale (T69) were the other Scots to make the cut.
Coetzee: A winner at last!
Leave your congratulatory messages for George Coetzee in our ‘Comments’ section below.