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Ken Borland

Superb weekend displays prove SA golf not going to the dogs 0

Posted on September 22, 2020 by Ken

A South African may not have won a Major title since Ernie Els triumphed at the Open in 2012, but any suggestion our golf is going to the dogs has been refuted by the superb displays of our golfers around the world over the weekend.

Between them, South Africa’s four top performing golfers over the weekend – Louis Oosthuizen, Garrick Higgo, Ashleigh Buhai and Els himself – took home nearly R23 million in prizemoney. And that excludes the cash raked in by the top-five finishes of both George Coetzee and Retief Goosen.

The Major event of the weekend was the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club outside New York and the powerful Bryson de Chambeau unleashed his dogs of war in the final round, in which he was the only golfer to shoot under-par, to win by a massive six strokes.

Oosthuizen, who was four off the pace at the start of the round, was soon out of real contention for the title as De Chambeau began dismembering the course on his way to a 67, and his challenge ran out of steam with a three-over 73 on the final day. Nevertheless it was good enough for the 2010 Open champion to finish alone in third, two behind second-placed Matthew Wolff.

Oosthuizen took home more than R14.2 million for his efforts and he now has six top-three finishes in the Majors, including being runner-up at least once in all of them.

The PGA Tour Champions is a lucrative way for professional golfers who have turned 50 and qualified for the seniors tour to bulk up their medical aid and Els took home more than R2.6 million at the weekend when he finished third in the Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach.

Unfortunately Els, who was the leader going into the final round, suffered another of his putting breakdowns as he missed a two-foot putt for par on the last that would have secured him a place in the playoff with eventual winner Jim Furyk and Jerry Kelly.

Goosen finished in fourth place, two shots adrift of Els.

Buhai (nee’ Simon) did get into a playoff in her event on the LPGA Tour, shooting a brilliant seven-under-par 65 in the final round to join Major winner Georgia Hall in the showdown for the Cambria Portland Classic title at Columbia Edgewater.

Unfortunately, Buhai’s putter, which had come to her aid numerous times earlier in the day, let her down on the second extra hole as she missed a par putt to deny her her maiden LPGA title.

The good news though for the three-time SA Open winner is that she has earned herself a place in the U.S. Open in December and she won nearly R2.7 million.

There was at least one South African winner at the weekend though and that was young rising star Garrick Higgo, who claimed his maiden European Tour title by winning the Portugal Open at Royal Obidos. In just his seventh start on the tour, a marvellous seven-under-par 65 drove the 21-year-old left-hander to the victory, Higgo beating Spaniard Pep Angles by one stroke.

Higgo was superb with the Driver all weekend, and he did not make a bogey in his last 26 holes, dropping just three shots all tournament.

While Higgo took home a little more than R3 million for his life-changing win, Coetzee continued to capitalise on his fine form by finishing in a tie for third, four shots back.

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