SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) – Lee Westwood came from behind to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Sunday, overturning a three-shot deficit at the start of the final round to deny Sergio Garcia a wire-to-wire victory and Louis Oosthuizen success at his home tournament.
Westwood saved his best for last to finish with an 8-under 64 at Gary Player Country Club to take him to 15 under and a three-shot win over Garcia (70). Oosthuizen (69) was third on 11 under.
It was Westwood’s third Nedbank title following back-to-back wins in 2010-11, before the event was part of the European Tour.
He held back tears after sealing his 24th European Tour title and first in more than four years.
“I’m a bit emotional, to be honest,” Westwood said. “You’re never sure whether you’re going to be able to do it again. Until now my emotions have felt really under control all day, which is what I’ve been working hard on.”
Westwood made birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to settle what was a fascinating final-round battle between him, Garcia and Oosthuizen.
Garcia had led from the start and had a two-shot advantage over Oosthuizen and was three ahead of Westwood after three rounds. But Westwood’s fabulous finish proved irresistible.
He made an eagle on No. 2 and six birdies in all, five of them on the back nine, as he charged to the title in the penultimate event of the European Tour season.
“I was just trying to hit fairways and stick to my game-plan and hit it in the right places, he said. “I’ve got a bit of a process that I’m going through with my golf swing and I’m starting to see better shots. The 7-iron into 17 is probably one of the best shots I’ve ever hit.”
The Nedbank Challenge also had repercussions for the Race to Dubai, with Rory McIlroy, Li Haotong and Lucas Bjerregaard now all officially out of the running to be crowned European No. 1 next weekend at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
That will now be a shootout between Race to Dubai standings leader Francesco Molinari and his Ryder Cup buddy Tommy Fleetwood after McIlroy finished in a tie for 21st in Sun City with a final-round 71, Li finished tied for fifth with a 65, and Bjerregaard tied for 11th after also closing with a 65.
McIlroy needed to finish in the top two to stay in contention for the season title while Li and Bjerregaard both needed to win in Sun City.
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