Trevor Fisher Junior played consistent precision golf as he motored to victory by five shots in the Africa Open at East London Golf Club on Sunday, shooting a superb eight-under-par 64 in the final round.
The South African had started the day two shots ahead of Englishman Matt Ford, and he pulled away with a brilliant display that included nine birdies.
And it’s not as if Ford, a European Tour rookie, spluttered in the final round either: He shot an admirable five-under-par 67, but Fisher Junior’s dazzling effort consigned him to second.
Fisher Junior is one of the most popular golfers on the Sunshine Tour and there was a flood of congratulatory messages on social media after a triumph that means he will now be part of the European Tour until the end of 2016.
And the 35-year-old certainly showed that he has the game to win again on the European Tour, simply overwhelming the tricky coastal course to finish on 24-under-par for the tournament.
“I only had three bogeys for the week which is quite an achievement, that’s how you win tournaments by keeping bogeys off your card. My mindset was great, I didn’t let anything faze me, and I hit my long irons very well. All you want to do is give yourself a chance,” Fisher Junior said after a remarkable round that took his weekend tally to 17-under-par after a 63 on the third day.
Ford initially matched Fisher Junior with birdies at the first and third holes and actually closed to within one stroke when the Modderfontein golfer bogeyed the par-four fifth hole. Fisher Junior’s tee-shot found the fairway bunker just before the crest of the hill, and was close to the lip so he could only chip out short of the green, from where he three-putted.
But the response was swift as Fisher Junior matched Ford’s birdies at six and seven and then engineered a three-shot lead on the ninth hole.
Fisher Junior fired a four-iron to within 10 feet of the flag and nailed the birdie putt, while Ford missed a six-footer for par. From there the South African cruised to victory with further birdies on the 10th, 15th, 16th and 18th holes, finishing with a suitably spectacular 45-foot putt.
“The ninth-hole was a nice swing, I was suddenly three ahead. I hit a two-iron off the tee and then the four-iron was probably my shot of the week,” Fisher Junior said.
He has contended before in co-sanctioned tournaments, having tied for third in the 2012 Joburg Open and for fourth in the 2010 Africa Open, and has five other top-10 finishes, and admitted that he had perhaps tried too hard to win those tournaments.
Now, as a more mature man and a father of two, who has gone through the pain of losing his father to cancer two years ago, Fisher Junior knows there is much to life beyond golf and it helps him on the course.
“I don’t want to define myself through my golf, so I tried to be myself whether I’d played a good shot or a bad shot, just be a happy guy. I actually felt very comfortable out there, although I was a bit nervous towards the end,” Fisher Junior said.
He admitted that his imagination did start running wild at stages and he began preparing victory speeches in his head, but he was able to nip them in the bud and regain his focus on fairways and greens.
Fisher-Junior has now expanded his golfing horizons to the world stage and there are no doubt many exciting times ahead for him.
“I’ve tried so hard to get that European Tour card, for so many years. Obviously it’s a massive step for my career because that’s where all South African golfers want to be,” Fisher Junior said.