The courageous George Coetzee came from behind to become a surprise winner of the Joburg Open 2014.
The 27 year old from Pretoria scored six-under-par 66 at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington East to finish 19 under par overall, three shots ahead of countryman Justin Walters, Jin Jeong of South Korea and Tyrrell Hatton who were all tied for second spot on 16- under par.
Besides being R3 million richer, Coetzee will get to play in the Championship Open in July alongside Walters and Jeong. This is because the Joburg Open is now part of the inaugural open qualifying series in which the top three finishers who are not exempted in the top 10, get the ticket to play in the Championship Open.
Coetzee started strongly on the final day, coming from behind to overtake the round three co-leaders, Thomas Aiken and Justin Walters.
“Sometimes it’s a little easier when you come from behind and I guess I was able to be a bit more aggressive out there. You also need a bit of luck on your side on the day to win a golf tournament and I had luck on the 15th hole today when I hit a drive that should have gone in the water. But it did not and I was able to put my next shot on the green and make par,” said the delighted Coetzee.
The Executive Mayor Clr Mpho Parks Tau heaped praise on the winner. “Let me take this opportunity to congratulate George, I think he is a deserving winner. Every time we host the Joburg Open, we look out to see which one of the South Africans can win it. We are very happy that George has won it and I think you one of the role models of South African golf. Congratulations once more.”
Mayor Tau welcomed the inclusion of the Joburg Open in the Championship Open. “I think the fact that the European Tour, Sunshine Tour and the City of Joburg have become partners to the extent that this tournament has been recognised as qualifying series for the Championship Open is a privilege to us the City of Joburg. It shows our commitment to this tournament over the past eight years is yielding the results we wanted.”