The saying ‘lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice’ seems to be something George Coetzee doesn’t agree with, as he finished birdie-birdie-eagle two days in a row on the Montagu course at Fancourt to win the 2016 Dimension Data Pro-Am by one shot.
Dean Burmester looked on helplessly as Coetzee weaved his magic after the final round shaped up to be between Burmester and Darren Fichardt. But Coetzee’s grandstand finish drew him level with Burmester after Fichardt dropped a shot on the par-four 15th. His brilliant approach to the final green knocked the wind out of Burmester’s sails.
“I finished off strongly yesterday on 16, 17 and 18, so I thought to myself that I just needed to keep myself in the mix until those three holes, but I wasn’t expecting to do the same thing,” Coetzee said. “But I’m very happy that I did and luckily it was enough to get the job done.”
As play advanced into the last few holes on the homeward nine, Burmester birdied 14 and 16 to put himself into the lead. Burmester then birdied the last but the outstanding eagle for Coetzee meant he had to settle for second-place.
“The eagle on the last was not planned,” laughed Coetzee. “Obviously I wanted to hit it close and I knew that my miss is right, so I just aimed it up the middle of the green and I knew that there was a good possibility I would push it closer to the hole, and I was just hoping it was the right club.”
It was a peach of a six-iron to three feet.
Coetzee was hardly on fire in the early stages of his round, and through 10 holes was only one-under-par which at the time left him two shots back of Burmester.
“At stages it didn’t look like it was going to happen for me, but I’m happy to have kept calm, put myself in play and then hit the shot on the last hole that was needed,” said Coetzee. “I was behind the whole day until the 17th.
“I was just on the fringe on 17. I just had a sense that it had a good chance of going in. So I just did my homework, read the line properly. Luckily for me, it went in. I actually holed it from off the green yesterday as well – so everything was pretty similar. I just kept thinking it was possible and I just had to get out of my own way and let it happen.”
Trailing Burmester’s second-place finish by two shots, together with Fichardt was a trio who took advantage of good conditions throughout the week – and their scoring showed it. Also on 18-under at the end was Alexander Knappe. The German spent the last three months at Fancourt as this is where he sets up during the European winter. His local knowledge showed and he produced a solid five-under-par round of 67 to leave him in a share of third place alongside Ross McGowan.
McGowan started his final round with a disappointing bogey, but he fought back with eight birdies to card a six-under-par round of 66.
It was another impressive display form the BMW South African Open Championship winner, Brandon Stone. The young South African carded a final round six-under-par 66 that included seven birdies and a single bogey to finish alongside England’s Garrick Porteous in a share of sixth.
Julien Guerrier of France, who was in contention all week finished in sole possession of eighth place after carding a bogey-free round of three-under-par 69.
For Coetzee, it was a return to the winner’s circle that came very quickly after a five-month lay-off for a broken ankle sustained in a surfing accident. “Obviously having five months off for the injury is not what I would have planned for myself, but with two wins last year I was just going to do what I did then,” he said. “I’m happy that the same game plan worked for me today.
“It took me a couple of years to figure out what I needed to do for myself to win events and I wasn’t going to overthink things this week.”
From Sunshine Tour