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Ken Borland

Bradbury exhibits all the airs of disbelief one would expect after winning Joburg Open

Posted on February 28, 2023 by Ken

Englishman Dan Bradbury on Sunday exhibited all the airs of disbelief one would expect of a golfer who comes into a co-sanctioned tournament like the Joburg Open on a sponsor’s invite without any tour status, and ends up winning.

Bradbury clinched the Joburg Open title by three strokes at Houghton Golf Club on Sunday, shooting four-under 67 in the final round to finish 21-under-par overall.

Having been at the top of the leaderboard from the first day, when he shot a 63, there seldom seemed any doubt on Sunday that the 23-year-old Bradbury would win as he produced a superb round of controlled golf. Whenever he made a mistake, Bradbury quickly rectified it and his only dropped shot came when he three-putted the final hole, but he already had a three-shot lead.

The U.S. College golf system may not receive much attention in South Africa, but it clearly produces golfers of great temperament. With all the massive prizes on offer, including a guaranteed spot on tour four months after turning pro, Bradbury did not blink when the pressure was on.

“It’s amazing, I can’t tell you how it feels because it still hasn’t sunk in and I’m sure it won’t for a while,” Bradbury said half-an-hour after his triumph. “I just went out there today to enjoy it.

“I played a lot of good golf and I was able to draw on my experience of College golf, I tried to win a lot there and I learnt from my mistakes. I just tried to play solid golf today and not do anything different.

“I just tried to not compound errors because on these greens bogey is never too far away and I just tried to keep the doubles away. My swing and irons were good all week and we picked good lines and hit good shots.

“It is life-changing because I’ve gone from not knowing where I will be playing to now being able to play everything, which I will do because I love playing. This is a silly game because I have been hurting may times after final rounds,” a beaming Bradbury said.

Finland’s Sami Valimaki shot a two-under-par 69 on Sunday to finish second on 18-under-par, while South Africans Christiaan Bezuidenhout (66) and Daniel van Tonder (68) were tied in third place on 17-under. Both played well off the tee and the fairways, but just could not make the crucial birdie putts coming down the back nine.

Bezuidenhout, who had a run of birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie from the third hole, Van Tonder and Valimaki all put Bradbury under early pressure, but the Yorkshireman chipped in for a crucial par on the sixth, when double-bogey looked possible, and also made vital par-saves on the 14th and 15th holes.

And now Bradbury has a lot of new plans to put in place. Starting with some shopping because he will be playing in the SA Open at Blair Atholl next week, instead of flying home as planned, and only brought one set of golf attire with him.

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