South African Louis Oosthuizen thought he played well in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Nov. 8-11 at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.
Others, however, played a little better.
England’s Lee Westwood fired a final-round 64 to finish 15 under par and win the 72-hole event. Westwood, who carded an eagle and six birdies on the day, finished three shots ahead of Spain’s Sergio Garcia and four shots clear of Oosthuizen, who was seeking to become the second South African to win the event in as many years.
His countryman, Branden Grace, had tasted victory in 2017, but this year Grace was part of a tie for 11th — a tie that included another South African, Dean Burmester. Both finished three under par, one stroke behind fellow countryman Darren Fichardt, who tied for ninth.
But Westwood took the measure of the field, recording five birdies on the back nine to win the event for the third time. Westwood, also victorious in 2010 and 2011, nailed down his 24th European Tour championship. Only seven golfers have ever won more.
Oosthuizen, who led the tournament through two rounds, felt nary a twinge of regret.
“If I had a lead and screwed up then it would be a different story,” he told the Sunday Times. “I was outplayed, really. I played good. I made a lot of birdies and I made a good run at it. Westwood played great. I was pushing hard.”
He said a missed putt on the 17th hole “knocked the wind out of (his) sails,” and that he then figured he would need “a miracle shot” on the final hole to catch Westwood and force a playoff. Alas, it was not to be; he double-bogeyed to fall to third.
The tournament drew a record 72,000 fans, with the final two rounds attracting 20,000 each day.