Schwartzel wins opening event of new European Tour season

Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:13am EST
 
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MALELANE, South Africa (Reuters) - South Africa's Charl Schwartzel won the Alfred Dunhill Championship by four shots at Leopard Creek Country Club on Sunday to clinch the first tournament of the new European Tour season.

The 31-year-old former U.S Masters champion led by three strokes overnight and carded a final-round 70 to end 15 under, ahead of France's Gregory Bourdy, who shot 68.

Two more Frenchmen, Benjamin Hebert and tour rookie Sebastien Gros, finished 10 under and nine under after rounds of 72 and 73 respectively.

Schwartzel, who has slumped to 50 in the world rankings, opened with rounds of 66, 67, 70 and he mixed four birdies with two bogeys on Sunday for a 10th European Tour win.

It was his first title since success at the same event on the southern boundary of the Kruger National Park in 2013.

Bourdy made a fast start on the final day with four consecutive birdies from the third but a triple bogey on the par-three seventh hole slowed his momentum.

Gros, playing in only his second European Tour event after finishing second on last season's Challenge Tour, hit a tournament-low 63 in the third round, but struggled with an erratic 73 to finish.

The Leopard Creek event marked the start of the 2016 European Tour, which moves to Sun City next weekend for the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Rob Hodgetts)

 
Charl Schwartzel of South Africa watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the first round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, July 16, 2015.   REUTERS/Russell Cheyne