• Finishes five shots behind winner George Coetzee
• Darren Clarke returns to a bit of form with T15 finish
CRAIG LEE | GEORGE COETZEE
Scotland’s Craig Lee recorded his best European Tour performance for 18 months as he finished in a tie for third place at the Tshwane Open.
The 37-year-old, who has never won in 128 attempts on the European Tour, started the day in a six-way tie for the lead but shot a level par final round of 70 – his worst of the week – to finish five shots behind eventual winner George Coetzee at Pretoria Country Club.
The Scot was only one shot off the lead after the 14th, but bogeyed the next and double bogeyed the 18th to drop back to nine-under alongside Dean Burmester and Tjaart van der Walt.
The last time Craig Lee finished as high was at the Omega European Masters in September 2013, where he lost out to Thomas Bjorn in a play-off.
"It’s a great experience and a very special day for me" - George Coetzee
But his third-placed finish marked a significant improvement for the Scot, as he had previously failed to make the cut in four of his six events in 2015. The result has also moved him up 60 places in the world rankings.
Coetzee, who was playing at his home course, fired in a five-under par round of 65 – the lowest of the day – to clinch his second European Tour title on 14-under, one shot ahead of compatriot Jacques Blaauw.
Speaking to the European Tour, Coetzee said: “To win at your own club in front of all your friends and family – the crowds were amazing.
“I could feel the momentum building and the crowd getting bigger and bigger towards the end. It’s a great experience and a very special day for me.”
It was also a good week for European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, who finally found some form after three missed cuts and a T67 so far in 2015. The Northern Irishman finished T15 on five-under par.
Craig Lee led the Scottish contingent in Waterkloof, with Scott Jamieson the next best placed, finishing T35 on two-under par, while other Scots in the field Chris Doak, Richie Ramsay and David Drysdale all missed the cut.
Craig Lee tied for third at the Tshwane Open :: Your thoughts
Craig Lee put in his best performance on tour for 18 months, but can a Scot win on the European Tour in 2015? Leave your thoughts in the 'Comments' section below.