Coetzee shines in Mauritius

European Tour

George Coetzee edged Thorbjorn Olesen in a playoff to win the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in Sunday afternoon.

The South African defeated the second round leader on the second hole of a playoff to win his third European Tour title.

Coetzee was three clear at one stage, but a bogey on the seventh and a run of pars saw his lead diminish. Olesen managed to roll in a birdie from six feet on the 17th while Coetzee missed his par from the same distance.

After the Dane earned a par on the last, Coetzee would need a birdie on the par five 18th to secure a playoff. After reaching the green in two, he had a 30 foot eagle putt for the win which he left agonisingly short.

On the first repeat of the 18th, again Coetzee was on the green in two, but amazingly his 40 foot eagle attempt lipped out. Both players would get birdies and head back to the 18th tee, where one final birdie would be enough for Coetzee to win.

“I actually felt more nervous during the day [than the play-off] and I’m happy to have pulled through it,” the 28-year-old told europeantour.com

“Thorbjorn did unbelievably well to put pressure on me the whole day. I actually had to work to catch him in the end.

“I would have loved to have won it on the first play-off hole with an eagle and do it in style, but I’m obviously happy just to have won.

“All in all, I’m happy the job is done and it doesn’t matter how many holes it took – I was little upset and angry after my bogey on 16 and when I walked up the tee box, I saw that my name was no longer at the top and I couldn’t believe that Thorbjorn birdied 17. I told myself that I needed to give myself a good opportunity on 18 which I did.

“They’ve done a fantastic job with the tri-sanctioning of this event and bringing us to a fantastic place like Mauritius.

“It is great to get another victory on The European Tour and obviously it counts towards my Sunshine Tour ranking as well so I’m pleased with that too. I actually played on the Asian Tour in 2009 and I couldn’t make a cut – I was living on scraps – so it is nice to finally get an Asian Tour win as well.”

Meanwhile, Olesen was understandably disappointed.

“It’s disappointing, of course, when you are in a play-off and you don’t win,” revealed the 25-year-old.

“It’s difficult to play that 18th with a three wood, but I’ve been hitting my driver pretty badly so I had to. George hit some great shots there in the play-off to get two birdies, as it’s not an easy hole, so big congratulations to him and he’s played really well.

“I’m pretty pleased with the way I handled things today – I had a bad start again and fought my way back.  It was a lot of fighting out there and George just played a little better.

“I didn’t expect this before the tournament so to be in a play-off is unbelievable when I haven’t been in a tournament for three months. I’m very pleased with that and I can take it with me. It’s a good start.”

Mardan Mamat of Singapore would hole two birdies in the last three holes to miss out on the playoff by one, while South Africa’s Thomas Aiken was a further shot behind on his own in fourth.

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