Spaniard repeats as Alfred Dunhill champ

Brad Morgan

13 December 2010

Spaniard Pablo Martin successfully defended his title in South Africa's Alfred Dunhill Championship, co-sanctioned by the European and Sunshine Tours, at Leopard Creek Country Club on Sunday after steaming out of the gates in the final round with a birdie, eagle start.

Martin had trailed South Africa's Anthony Michael by one shot after three rounds, but he took the sole lead after the second hole and never looked back.

His advantage grew to as many as five shots, but he showed some signs of nerves on the inward nine when he was forced to scramble a par on the 13th and dropped a shot on the 14th.

Big scare

He suffered a big scare after finding the water on the 17th and carding a triple-bogey. Martin, though, still held the lead and fired a birdie on the final hole to win the tournament by two shots.

He finished with a two-under-par 70 for a four-round total of 11-under-par 277. With a huge smile on his face, Martin was dowsed by a bucket of water from fellow Spaniards Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Alvaro Velasco in celebration of his victory.

"Normally, they throw people into ponds and stuff," he told the Sunshine Tour website, "but I'm glad they restrained themselves today, because there are crocodiles and stuff around here."

Third European tour appearance

Anthony Michael, playing in only his third European Tour event after earning his spot through two qualifying events, showed admirable temperament when the heat was on after he shot into the lead after a first round six-under-par 66.

He followed that up with a 69 and 71 to stay in front, but he finally had to concede the lead to Martin after the defending champion's blistering start on Sunday. Michael closed with a final round one-over-par 73 to end on nine-under 279.

Still, a cheque for R717 120 for a share of second in only his third European Tour event left Michael feeling good after a surprisingly mature challenge.

'It feels like a win to me'

"It feels like a win to me," he told the Sunshine Tour's website afterwards.

"I've overcome a lot this week. Emotions have been beyond anything I've ever thought I could feel. I felt I controlled it really good."

He added: "It's hard to put it in words, how I feel. Really good."

Dane Thorbjorn Olesen shot the best round of the day, a six-under-par 66, to race up the leaderboard and share second with Michael and 2005 champion Charl Schwartzel.

Schwartzel played steady golf, carding three rounds of 70 and a 69, but his putting let him down a little.

Scotland's Richie Ramsay, who defends his South African Open title in Durban from 16 December, showed that he is in decent form by finishing in a share eighth on five-under-par 283.

Louis Oosthuizen

There was disappointment for British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen as he struggles to work his way back to form after suffering an ankle injury. He missed the cut after a freak incident which resulted in him being penalised a shot.

Playing the 17th, Oosthuizen took a practice swing which resulted in his ball moving a couple of centimetres. After consultation with the referees, it was ruled that he had to move his ball back to its original position and it cost him a shot. That one shot was the difference between making the cut and missing it.

The Sunshine and European Tour action moves to the Durban Country Club from Thursday where the South African Open takes place for the 17th time in its centenary year. No other venue has hosted the second oldest Open championship in the world as many times.

The field includes Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen, and Tim Clark. Clark has previously won the event twice, both times at the Durban Country Club.

LEADERBOARD

  • Pablo Martin (-11) - 69, 70, 68, 70 -277
  • Anthony Michael (-9) 66, 69, 71, 73 - 279
  • Thorbjorn Olesen (-9) 71, 68, 74, 66, - 279
  • Charl Schwartzel (-9) 70, 70, 69, 70 - 279
  • Thomas Aiken (-7) 72, 72, 67, 70, - 281
  • Robert Dinwiddie (-6) 69, 72, 71, 70, - 282
  • Alex Haindl (-6) 71, 66, 72, 73, - 282
  • David Drysdale (-5) 70, 70, 72, 71, - 283
  • Robert Rock (-5) 67, 70, 75, 71, - 283

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Pablo Martin is all smiles after winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship for the second time in succession (Photo: Sunshine Tour)

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