Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Great Scot, Ramsay wins South African Open

South African Open winner Richie Ramsay

Three years after becoming the first Scot to win the US Amateur Championship in 108 years, Richie Ramsay now has his first European Tour title.

The 25-year-old from Aberdeen won the South African Open at Pearl Valley yesterday, coming from five behind with a best-of-the-day 65 and then beating Indian Shiv Kapur with a birdie on the first play-off hole.

Belfast’s Michael Hoey and Ballyclare’s Gareth Maybin doubtless will be a tad disappointed to share 35th place (worth €7,000 each) on two under.

Maybin went to Pearl Valley with high hopes after taking Richard Sterne all the way to sudden death last year but faced an uphill struggle after a first round 75. He rounded off his tournament with a subdued 71, while Hoey dropped five shots in six holes on the back nine before sealing his closing 76 with a birdie at 18.

“There's no greater feeling than winning and I'm just a flood of emotions — I'm holding back the tears,” said Ramsay after receiving the second oldest trophy in golf.

The pair tied on the 13-under-par mark of 275 but the former Walker Cup player grabbed the first prize of £141,745 — and a Tour exemption that runs until the end of 2011 — when he was on the green in two at the 601-yard 18th and two-putted.

“Things just went for me,” he added.

Ramsay did not drop a shot all day, going to the turn in 33 and then grabbed more birdies on the 10th, 12th, 15th and 17th.

The last of those, a 14-footer following a superb approach from the rough over water, brought Ramsay into the joint lead and, after he had missed a 25-foot birdie chance on the last, Kapur stood on the same green with a 12-foot putt for his first Tour title but missed.

Denmark's Anders Hansen, Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed and Italian Edoardo Molinari all could have joined the play-off with a closing eagle but failed.

Hansen's birdie left him third, while the other two parred to be joint fourth — and that was good enough for Molinari to climb into the world's top 50 just in time to join his brother Francesco in the Masters at Augusta in April.

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