Hansen ends decade-long wait

23 November 2020 03:13:31 GMTPlus11

Joachim B. Hansen said landing the first European Tour title of his career was an "emotional" occasion after victory at the Joburg Open on Sunday.

The Dane was making the 146th European Tour start of his career in South Africa this week and had looked unlikely to break his duck heading into the final round having sat four shots behind overnight leader Wilco Nienaber.

The Joburg Open is an event that has been dominated by home favourites in recent years and Nienaber had looked set to deliver another South African winner after flying out of the blocks, making the turn with a three-shot lead in his pocket.

Hansen had done well to stay within striking distance on the front nine, picking up a solitary birdie at the fifth, before the 30-year-old slipped into a higher gear after the turn from home.

He fired birdies at the tenth, 12th and 14th to move to the top of the leaderboard before parring his way home as he signed for a bogey-free four-under 67 at Randpark Golf Club.

Nienaber found it tough to create any opportunity on the back nine and sealed his fate with bogeys on the last two holes to complete a round of 70 as Hansen claimed the honours by two shots with an overall score of 19-under.

Hansen felt his play on the greens had made all the difference in the end as he celebrated his long-awaited first victory.

"Wilco got in front quite quick, by three shots, and we managed to stick to our game and our plan," Hansen told the European Tour website.

"He's long, he's got some good things with the game hitting it very far and very straight so we knew we had to go out and do our own and do the things we've done the first three days. We succeeded pretty well today.

"I putted really well, almost haven't missed a putt inside six feet and holed a lot of long ones as well."

Nienaber was able to claim sole possession of the runner-up spot, while fellow South African Shaun Norris came home third and Brandon Stone, Canada's Aaron Cockerill and England's Steve Surry shared fourth.

Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson is 7.50 to retain his Masters title in 2021, with Rory McIlroy a 10.00 chance to land his first Green Jacket.

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