Nick Gordon
2 minute read
4 Feb 2014
6:00 am

SA golf stars hoping for better times

Nick Gordon

The European Tour's Middle East swing came to an end over the weekend at the conclusion of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and left several South African golfers in a positive mood ahead of this week's Joburg Open.

FILE PICTURE: Darren Fichardt during day 3 of the Nelson Mandela Championship at Mount Edgecombe Country Club on December 13, 2013 in Durban. Picture: Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images.

It’s been a good few weeks for Darren Fichardt as he once again put in a strong finish for a share of 13th place with a total score of 11-under-par for the week.

Rounds of 69, 72, 66 and a closing 70 meant that he secured another top 20 finish and will no doubt be one to watch over the coming few days as the co-sanctioned Joburg Open descends upon the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.

There was a nervy moment for Dawie van der Walt over the first two days at the Emirates Golf Club as he faced the prospect of missing the cut but he sneaked into the final field and ended the tournament at eight-under in a tie for 29th.

“I played solid for the first two days but you always feel like you could have shot one or two less. It looked like I was missing it for 35 holes until I got a birdie at the last,” Van der Walt told the European Tour’s website as he reflected on his close shave with the cut line.

Hennie Otto was a shot back after rounds of 68, 73, 69 and 71 moved him to a share of 37th while Richard Sterne, who defends his title this week, and Jaco van Zyl sat at four-under in a share of 54th. Justin Walters turned his fortunes around for a share of 65th at two-under-par.

Former three-time winner at the event, Ernie Els, missed the cut after ending the first two days level par after shooting 74 and 70 but the “Big Easy” wasn’t the only South African to fade in the desert as Garth Mulroy, Jbe Kruger, Wayne Westner and Branden Grace all failed to make it into the weekend.

It proved to be a tough weekend for South Africa’s two representatives in the Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour as Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini failed to make the cut at TPC Scottsdale.