Bothma makes it two in Telkom PGA Championship

2010-02-22 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Michiel Bothma sank a nine-metre putt for birdie on the 18th at Country Club Johannesburg yesterday to win his second Telkom PGA Championship.

“Now you can go and buy that car,” he joked with caddie Johnny Madikaba after Louis Oosthuizen — himself a two-time champion in the tournament — bogeyed the last hole to gift Bothma the title.

It took a superb round for Bothma to win the title. He made three birdies on the opening nine, and then turned on the heat with six birdies in his closing nine.

His nine-under 63 saw him finish 20-under-par for the tournament.

“I didn’t really think about winning until after the 15th,” he said, “although I did keep my eye on the leader boards — something I never do”.

That was the signal for some pyrotechnics: he made three in a row on the closing stretch, including that long one on the final hole.

It took an agonisingly long time for Bothma to make up his mind about which club to use for his second on the 18th. He stood over the ball with a three-wood for what seemed like an age. “I think I could have reached the green in two, but I knew if I missed the green left with the pin placing as it was, I would have no chance of getting it up and down,” said Bothma.

Instead, he laid up, and when his approach came up nine metres short, he showed his disappointment. At the time, he thought he had to nail the putt to secure himself a spot in a play-off.

“I really thought Louis and George Coetzee would make birdie on the 18th, and we’d have to go into a playoff. As I hit that putt, I was just praying,” he said.

Oosthuizen was perfectly placed for a birdie on the final hole to force the play-off, after he had made four birdies and an eagle through 17. But his approach came up even shorter than Bothma’s, and his putt, while bold, was wide and ran 2,5 metres past — and he missed the return.

Coetzee did what Bothma feared on the 18th, tugging his second so far left that he was in serious trouble. After his attempt at a chip on to the green, he was still off the putting surface, but he got it close and rescued his par to take second place.

Oosthuizen was third, with Tjaart van der Walt claiming fourth place. Van der Walt closed well with two birdies in his final three holes, lifting him to five-under for the round and 15-under for the tournament.

Keith Horne came in fifth and defending champion Jaco van Zyl took sixth place.

For Bothma, there was the warm aftermath of victory, familiar now, and better the second time around: “It doesn’t seem like seven years since I won this title,” he said.

“Since I was 12 years old, I told my parents that this is what I want to do. I’ve practised so hard over the past three months that I felt it had to happen. This confirms for me that I can win.”

Leading final-round scores

268 -Michiel Bothma 71 67 67 63

269 -George Coetzee 71 67 64 67

270 -Louis Oosthuizen 67 66 69 68

273 -Tjaart van der Walt 67 68 71 67

274 -Keith Horne 67 71 66 70

275 -Jaco Van Zyl 71 66 68 70

276 -Richard Sterne 69 68 69 70, Doug McGuigan 65 72 68 71

278 -Jake Roos 68 72 71 67, Josh Cunliffe 66 74 69 69, Louis Moolman 69 70 69 70

 

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