(Reuters) - Former U.S. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel came from behind to win the Nanshan China Open by one shot on Sunday after a costly late slip by Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke.
Clarke and China’s Liang Wenchong started the final round of the $1 million OneAsia Tour event three clear of Schwartzel but the South African shot a brilliant final four-under-par 68 for a nine-under total to pip the pair.
It was a first title of the year for Schwartzel, who has now won on the U.S. PGA, European, Sunshine, Asian and OneAsia circuits.
“I never thought I was out of it, for any second. It’s a matter of staying in there, hitting good golf shots and controlling your own destiny,” the 2011 U.S. Masters champion told the OneAsia Tour.
“I’ve played a lot of golf tournaments and done a lot of travelling in the past few months and it felt like I’ve been playing really good golf with no results, so it’s nice to have something finally go your way.”
Clarke was level with Schwartzel at nine-under standing on the 17th tee but the 2011 British Open champion struck a wayward tee-shot and bogeyed the par three hole.
The 45-year-old, who has not won since his sole major triumph, and defending champion Liang both failed to find a birdie on the last and finished with level par rounds of 72.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the day - it was another one of those days on the greens again where I couldn’t buy a putt from anywhere,” Clarke said.
Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John Mehaffey