Fichardt finally ends title drought

European Tour

South African Darren Fichardt shot a two-over-par 73 to win the St Omer Open by three shots and end his nine-year title drought.

South African Darren Fichardt shot a two-over-par 73 to win the St Omer Open by three shots and end his nine-year title drought.

The 37-year-old started the final round with a five-shot lead, but it was anything but plain sailing as he found himself under pressure from English duo Gary Lockerbie, who finished with a 69, and Simon Wakefield, who bogeyed the last for a 72.

The victory was the South African’s third European Tour title and first since he was victorious at the 2003 Qatar Masters.

Fichardt admits he wasn’t quite at his best on Sunday, but is delighted that he hung on for victory.

“It was messy today,” he told www.europeantour.com.

“It definitely wasn’t pretty. I was absolutely terrified and I was happy we didn’t have to play any more holes.

“To win is awesome. The last four years I’ve had injuries and missed out at the Qualifying School a couple of times, and you wonder if you’ll ever make it back.

“So it was amazing to get my card last year back at Q School, and to win on my ninth start this season is a dream come true. The exemption for next season is very welcome.”

He added: “I’ve been in the lead before going into the final round, so I was familiar with the feeling,” he said.

“But this golf course has a lot of trouble, and if you try and play safe you can just end up in even more trouble, so I was happy to get the job done in the end.

“I was struggling with the lines and pace of putts on the greens, and my club selection was out today, but in the end I got it round and made a few good putts to save par.”

Lockerbie finished second on the back of birdies at the 16th an 17th.

“I haven’t had much luck in the past here, so this is a welcome change,” he said.

“I knew Darren would have to have a complete disaster for anyone else to win, but I knew second place was up for grabs and I’m very pleased I was able to finish well.

“This tournament is like a Major for the Challenge Tour so I’m delighted with my performance.”

Charlie Ford, Adam Gee, Pelle Edberg and Wil Besseling tied for fourth at two-over-par.

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